Stakeholders pitch for more LPG outlets in Valley

‘Why Don’t We See Long Queues For Cooking Gas Outside Kashmir’

MUKEET AKMALI

Srinagar, Oct 23: While the oil companies operating in J&K strictly adhere to the new LPG policy announced by Government of India recently, these companies have miserably ‘failed’ to increase the number of outlets for better delivery of services and hassle free distribution of cooking gas in the Valley.
“In other parts of the country, we don’t see people waiting for hours in queues outside the LPG outlets for updating their documents or to get a refill. Not to talk of Delhi or Punjab, we don’t see such chaos even in Jammu. I don’t know why this is happening only in Kashmir,” asks a visibly agitated consumer, who has been in the queue outside an LPG outlet for three hours.
The stakeholders attribute this commotion over LPG to the dismal consumer-dealer ratio in the valley. The consumers here have to leave aside their pressing engagements and wait outside gas agencies for a refill.
Even the state’s winter capital, Jammu is in better position when it comes to the number of gas dealers operating there. In Jammu province there are 58 gas outlets, 15 dealers more than Kashmir province which has only 43 outlets that has made the verification/ registration process hectic for the consumers in valley.
The three Oil companies namely, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) operating in valley have got only 17 outlets to cater to the population of 1269751 souls in district Srinagar with HPCL having 9 outlets, IOC and BPCL each having four outlets.  While as only four outlets cater to the requirement of 1070144 persons in district Islamabad (Anantnag).
Similarly Shopian, Kulgam, Pulwama, Kupwara, Bandipora have only  two gas dealers each catering to a population of 265960,  422786, 570060, 875564 and 385099 souls respectively.
Baramulla has 6 outlets with a population of 1015503, while as Kargil and Leh have only one dealer to provide cooking gas to the population of 147104 and 143388 souls respectively. Ganderbal has only one gas outlet to cater to the requirement of a population of 297003 souls.
Civil society groups raise question over state government’s role in the issue, saying when it comes to implementation of LPG policy oil companies and state government neither bother about the sufferings of common people nor listen to the pleas of civil society groups and trade federations.
“But when it comes to discharging their duties to increase the number of dealer/outlets, both the government and the oil companies  prefer to keep the issue lingering in order to favor existing gas dealers and are least bothered about the problems of common people,” said Muhammad Sadiq Baqal, President Kashmir Traders United Front said.
Civil society groups have urged the state government to take cognizance of the dismal ratio between consumers and dealers and ask oil companies to expedite the process of increasing number of dealers in the valley for the better of cooking gas distribution.
Pertinently, the nexus between the existing dealers and the management of the oil companies, is believed to be major cause of LPG crisis in valley as the existing dealers sabotage any attempt aimed at opening more LPG outlets in the Valley as they are making huge money out of the trade and want to monopolize the cooking gas supply.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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