Govt order to companies for stocking up 2 months' LPG supply in Kashmir sparks speculations

A government order asking oil marketing companies to stock up two months’ supply of LPG cylinders in Kashmir Valley has sparked speculations, especially in the wake of the LAC face-off, with NC leader Omar Abdullah questioning the need for such a move.

According to the June 27 order issued by the director of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department in Kashmir, an adviser to Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor G C Murmu has passed directions in a meeting on June 23 “to ensure sufficient stocks of LPG in the valley as the supply of the same gets affected due to closure of the National Highway on account of frequent landslides”.

Describing the order as a “matter most urgent”, the director asked the oil marketing companies to make adequate stocks of LPG which can last up to two months both at bottling plants as well as godowns.

Though similar exercises are common in winter months in view of frequent disruptions on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, such huge stocking does not usually take place in summers.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah also cited another communique by the Ganderbal district police for making provisions for lodging of central forces and said such orders create panic in Kashmir and sought an explanation from the government.

“Government orders are creating panic in Kashmir & unfortunately after all the lies & false assurances last year even if/when the government explains these orders hardly any of us will take the assurances at face value. That said they still need to explain these orders,” Omar tweeted, referring to the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 provisions in August last year.

In his communique, the senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Ganderbal has requested the district administration to make available 16 educational institutes, including ITI buildings, middle and higher secondary schools, in the central Kashmir district.

The SSP said the buildings were needed to accommodate central armed paramilitary forces (CAPFs).

“In view of the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra-2020, and due to the dearth of accommodation facilities in district Ganderbal for incoming CAPF companies, it is requested that these accommodation centres/ education institutes may kindly be made available for accommodation of the CAPF companies during the period of the yatra, the SSP said.

National Conference leader Tanvir Sadiq also demanded an explanation from the government, saying the people of Kashmir cannot afford to live another year in “fear and uneasiness”.

“It’s summer so not many landslides. Stock for two months. Matter most urgent. These three points need clarity at the highest level. People of Kashmir can’t afford to live in yet another year of fear and uneasiness, he posted on Twitter.

Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Ganderbal, sought to link the orders with the situation along the LAC. “…whatever it is, it is causing anxiety among the people in the valley, he said.

Indian and Chinese armies have been on a six-week standoff in several areas of eastern Ladakh. The ties between the two countries came under severe strain after Chinese military killed 20 Indian Army personnel and injured around 76 in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15.

Another Ganderbal resident, Owais Mir, also raised apprehensions about the move. “We know about the yatra arrangements, but this year the yatra is supposed to be a low-key affair, so what is the government going to do with such a huge number of forces, he said.