Frequent highway closures lead to shortage of domestic LPG in Kashmir

Frequent highway closures lead to shortage of domestic LPG in Kashmir

Consumers from across Kashmir informed Greater Kashmir that oil marketing companies (OMC) have failed to provide them cylinders on time as these firms have not stocked up enough cylinders for winters.

LPG supply to Kashmir has been hit badly due to frequent Srinagar-Jammu highway closures, causing shortage of domestic cooking gas cylinders in the valley. 

Inclement weather during the winter often leads to suspension of traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway. However this year the road, which is the only surface connectivity to Kashmir valley with the rest of the country has been closed for record number of days, taking a toll on supply of different essential commodities, including LPG cooking gas. 

Consumers from across Kashmir informed Greater Kashmir that oil marketing companies (OMC) have failed to provide them cylinders on time as these firms have not stocked up enough cylinders for winters.

OMCs operating in the Valley mainly dependent on supply of LPG from outside are facing the shortage. “We are at the receiving end suffering a major shortage of cooking gas cylinders. I have been waiting for a refill for last two weeks,” said a Raj Bagh-based consumer of the city. 

Similarly, cooking gas customers from Pulwama, Baramulla, Shopian, Kupwara, Bandipora and Gandarbal have also complained of shortage of LPG cylinders. 

A cooking gas dealer, wishing anonymity, accused the state government and OMCs of ‘misleading’ consumers about presence of abundant stocks of LPG in Kashmir. “I have not received any fresh stock of LPG for last several days since the OMC does not have refilling plant here and its stocks have been stranded on the highway. Several of our trucks are stranded at Kud for last few days. We hope traffic resumes soon," the dealer said. 

"Prior to winter, oil marketing companies had promised government of keeping buffer stocks of filled cylinders but they have failed to do so,” he said. 

He said Kashmir needs a dedicated plant like Kargil and Leh districts, where at any point of time 80,000 extra cylinders are kept reserved. 

An OMC manager, who does not want to be named, said several vehicles laden with LPG cylinders are stuck on Srinagar-Jammu highway and one the road opens there will be no LPG shortage. The stock already present in the valley can last for next two days, he added. 

The present shortage in supply of LPG is despite Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan ordering rationing of fuel recently and having directed director of food civil supplies and consumer affairs, Kashmir to ensure supply of food grains and petroleum products to the consumers during the winter months. 

When contacted, director food supplies Muhammad Qasim Wani said he was ensuring that there is enough supply of LPG to the consumers. “I have taken a stock of the situation of LPG supply. We are ensuring that there is no shortage of cooking gas. Whatever panic is there in the market is because people are stocking up cylinders in large quantity,” Wani said.