LPG crisis: No relief in crucial meet

Oil Companies Express Helplessness; Chief Minister Presses For Home Delivery


Srinagar, Oct 25: A crucial meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah here on Thursday failed to reach any conclusion regarding increase in supply of subsidized LPG cylinders as oil companies expressed helplessness to follow the old method of distribution citing several reasons.
Instead, the Government directed the oil companies and dealers to streamline LPG distribution and explore all means to keep gas readily available. The fresh development has put at rest the speculations that State Government was mulling a “major relief” for the people in view of harsh winter ahead.
The Minister for CA&PD Qamar Ali Akhoon, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, Principal Secretary Finance Iqbal Khanday, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister BB Vyas, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Asgar Samoon, Divisional Commissioner Jammu Pradeep Gupta, Secretary CAPD Muhammad Abbas Dar, senior officers and representatives of various oil companies were present in the meeting.
Sources privy to the meeting said the representatives of oil companies expressed helplessness to provide gas on the old pattern saying they were accountable before their top brass and subsequently to the Government of India (GoI). “We can’t follow the old method as our system of operation is getting fully computerized. We won’t be able to provide non-subsidized LPG supply to the consumers for the winter period,” one of the oil company representatives was quoted as having said in the meeting.
The Chief Minister directed the oil companies and dealers to work out a plan to stop black-marketing and to ensure home delivery system. The Chief Minister also directed the CA&PD department to ensure availability of kerosene and other essentials during winter.
He directed for keeping non-subsidized LPG cylinders available to the people without any stipulation or pre-condition. “It should be the option of the consumer to obtain either subsidized or non-subsidized LPG cylinders as per his wish,” he said asking LPG companies not to put any condition on this count on the supply of these cylinders.
He said that consumers should get hassle-free supply of LPG cylinders at their homes as is prevalent elsewhere in the country.
After the meeting, CA&PD Minister Qamar Ali Akhoon said, “The oil companies are facing problems and at the same time people too are confronted with many problems.” The Minister said the Government has taken many steps to streamline gas distribution in the State.
“Chief Minister has directed the oil companies and LPG dealers to complete the process of documentation on fast track basis,” said Akhoon. “The Government, on the directions of Chief Minister, will take full advantage of LPG bottling plant at Pampore. We are hopeful to ensure smooth supply of LPG cylinders.”
Chief Secretary Madhav Lal said the gas dealers will provide three cylinders to the consumers till March against subsidized rates which is Rs 412.
“Once a consumer is done with acquiring three cylinders, then he can get cylinders on non-subsidized rates (Rs 974),” he said.
On whether there would be any relief to the people of J&K like increasing the number of subsidized cylinders from six to nine or 12 per year, the Chief Secretary said the LPG cap will continue. “The consumers can’t get more than six subsidized cylinders a year,” he said.
The GoI recently announced cap on LPG, restricting the number of subsidized cylinders to six a year citing heavy burden on the State exchequer. Several Congress-ruled States have increased the number of subsidized cylinders to 9 per year.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon has directed the oil companies to issue instructions to all the LPG dealers to immediately resume home delivery of LPG cylinders in Kashmir division for the benefit of the consumers.
Dr. Samoon emphasized upon all the Additional District Development Commissioners to monitor the distribution of LPG in their respective districts and in case any violation, dealers found to be involved in black marketing, action under Essential Commodities Act and Prevention of Black Marketing and Hoarding Act shall be initiated against them.
Divisional Commissioner also urged the Director, CAPD Kashmir, all Deputy Commissioners, ADDCs, District SPs and SHOs to intensify market-checking and conduct random inspection in the premises of the retailers and ensure home delivery of LPG.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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