LPG Relief Package On Cards

Consumers With Genuine Documents To Get Hassle-Free Refill: Govt

Srinagar – Belatedly waking up to the grave LPG crisis, Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating a relief package for consumers, including raise in subsidized cylinders cap to nine.

Quoting reliable sources, reports said the chief minister, Omar Abdullah, had called a high level meeting with various ministers and officials on Monday to discuss the LPG crisis and possibility of increasing the cap on subsidized LPG cylinders to valley consumers.

The finance minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, the minister for Consumer Affairs, Qamar Ali Akhoon, the chief secretary, Madhav Lal, commissioner / secretaries of Finance and CAPD departments and representatives of oil companies are likely to attend the meeting.

Sources said the government was working out the financial implications of increase in the cap on the subsidized cooking gas from existing six cylinders.

“Most probably, the government may raise the cap to nine cylinders a year, with the state bearing the expenditure on additional 3 cylinders out of its own sources”, sources said.

The issue of easing the registration and verification procedure is expected to be discussed with the CAPD being involved in identifying and enumerating LPG consumers.

Reports said a delegation of Kashmir Traders United Front (KTUF) met the chief minister at his residence Wednesday evening demanding increase in subsidy cap to 12 cylinders and easing of registration procedures for valley consumers. Led by Muhammad Sadiq Baqqal, the delegation included Jan Muhammad Koul, Zahoor Ahmand and Mushtaq Darial. The chief minister is understood to have admitted the new system had resulted in hardships to the consumers and that the government was contemplating measures to address the crisis.

Meanwhile, a civil society delegation met the CAPD minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon, Thursday to discuss measures to provide relief to consumers. It comprised representatives from Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), senior journalist, Imdad Saqi, and others.  

The CAPD commissioner, Muhammad Abbas, director, Mir Mushtaq Ahmad, sales in-charge, Hindustan Petroleum, Haroon Hameed, and Indian Oil Corporation representative, Parvez Ahmad, also attended the meeting.

Sources privy to the meeting said issues relating to increase in subsidized LPG cap, registration procedures for new consumers and transfer of existing connections were discussed.

Akhoon said unblocking of genuine consumers had been started and accordingly the oil companies had restored supply of LPG in the city.  The HPL distributes 18 truckloads of gas in Srinagar city daily while as IOC and Bharat Petroleum Corporation provide five truckloads and 4 truck loads respectively in the city. The process will remain in operation till 17th October in the first instance, an official handout quoted him as saying.

He said the government had taken up the matter with union ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for enhancing the cap of subsidized cylinders in the state in view of its tough geographical and topographical conditions. (Observer News Service With inputs from KNS)

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