JK govt silent on raising LPG cap
‘Consumers left high and dry’
Srinagar, Sep 19: Even as the Congress has decided to increase the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders from six to nine in states run by the party, J&K state, where it shares power with National Conference in the coalition government, has yet to take any decision on the burning issue leaving consumers high and dry.
While majority of the state governments in the country and even regional political parties like RJD, JMM, SP have criticized the move of the centre to cap subsidy on LPG cylinders, J&K government has preferred to remain silent.
The “ambiguous” position of NC-led government in the state has left Valleyites wondering. “It is irony that neither Chief Minister Omar Abdullah nor any of his cabinet colleagues has spoken a work about this issue,” consumers here said.
“It seems the chief minister does not want to annoy the centre. He is least bothered about the suffering of people in the state,” they alleged.
Even the Congress being coalition partner in state government has not spoken a word here on the issue.
The Congress-led UPA government on last Thursday announced an annual six-cylinder cap on subsidized LPG for every family.
The Delhi government has already announced that it will give three more cylinders to the families belonging to economically weaker sections under a scheme to make the state kerosene-free.
People here demand that the state government should either seek relaxation for consumers in Kashmir who face harsh winters during which the consumption of gas touches sky, or of its own enhance the number of subsidized cylinders per family per year.
To mention, Kashmir valley has a consumption rate of 20,000 gas cylinders a day.
Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) , Qamar Ali Akhoon told Greater Kashmir that government is considering several “proposals” which it would sent to Centre government.
On whether state government will also enhance the number of subsidized cylinders to the consumers, Akhoon said: “I don’t want to say anything about this till the state government comes out with a concrete decision on the issue.
An official statement meanwhile today said that the CAPD has decided the customers in the Valley will get LPG as per past practice till October 15, 2012.
Meanwhile, consumers from different parts of the Valley today complained severe gas shortage. “With the acute LPG scarcity, people are being forced to use traditional cooking heaters in which firewood is used as fuel,” many people said.
“While there is much talk of capping or not capping the number of LPG cylinders, the problem of scarcity of gas is going unnoticed,” said Adil Ahmad, a consumer.
He said presently there is huge scarcity of gas in several areas in Srinagar, yet government is taking no steps to mitigate the suffering of the people.
“I have no other option but to turn to traditional firepot to cook food for my family,” said Amina Begum, a resident of old city.
No book No gas!
Meanwhile, the order of oil the companies demanding ‘Red Book’ from the consumers is annoying them.
“Gas dealers are asking for documents for issuing gas refills. But how can a person arrange documents all of a sudden?,” locals said.
“The oil companies should have given us at least a month to complete the verification process. The new directive has hampered gas distribution even among bona fide customers,” said a gas dealer in old city.
The consumers said the ordinary people would face the brunt of the order more during winters, when average gas consumption per household crosses two cylinders per month.
“During winters temperatures in Kashmir drop sub-zero pushing up the average consumption of domestic gas to more than two cylinders per month. How can a poor family which cannot afford to get the commodity at market price, manage with one gas cylinder for two months,” said a consumer.
The consumers said even in summer one gas cylinder cannot suffice to two months. "The average consumption of gas by a household in Kashmir is one cylinder for three weeks. It is practically impossible to manage kitchen on six cylinders a year,” the consumers said.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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