LPG Crisis: Registration Of New Connections Slow

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CPI (M) Warns Of Major Law, Order Problem

SRINAGAR (ONS) – Asserting that registration of new LPG connections by various oil companies in Jammu and Kashmir by November 15-deadline was almost impossible, primarily due to disproportionately less number of counters set up for the purpose, consumers have urged the government to ease the related procedures and to make the cooking gas supply hassle-free.

Sources said the state had a negligible 101 dealers (43 in Kashmir and 58 in Jammu) engaged in LPG supply and they were unable to complete the registration by November 15. “The process is going on at a snail’s pace and only five lakh registrations have so far been completed while two lakh more connections to be registered in the next 12 days, which is almost impossible,” they said.

The consumers have accused the dealers of deliberately sleeping over registration of new connection as they eyed higher earnings through non-subsidized sales at Rs 1,200 a cylinder against ration tickets. They alleged even subsidized cylinders were being sold at a premium than the fixed rate of Rs 400 each and that touts were active all over the state for the purpose.

Pertinently, taking suo moto cognizance of media reports, the High Court has already sought details of LPG dealers in the state.

Meanwhile, the government’s efforts to convince the centre on the urgency to raise the cap of subsidized LPG for the state in view of its harsh winter suffered setback when the union Petroleum minister, Virappa Moily, told CAPD minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon, that no decision on the plea had been taken yet. A letter chief minister had sent to Moily’s predecessor, S Jaipal Reddy, had urged raise in the cap.

During his meeting with the union minister, Akhoon stressed (a) relaxation of strict rules about NYC (know your customer) and other documents; (b) opening of new bottling plants at Kargil and in South Kashmir; (c) sanction for refilling LPG auto centers for which three places in Kashmir and two in Jammu are already identified; (d) commission of 2nd phase of bottling plant of HP at Pampore increasing its capacity up to 1½ month against present 15 days; (e) launch of RGGVY scheme in the state at the places identified by the CAPD to establish new gas agencies to lessen the burden on existing ones.

Moily assured Akhoon that the problems would be looked into seriously, He agreed to visit Kashmir soon to assess ground situation.

Meanwhile, the CPI (M) state secretary and MLA, Kulgam, M Y Tarigami, today warned that the LPG crisis could degenerate into a major law and order problem if not resolved early. He demanded a special concession on the LPG cap for the state.

“Lack of coordination between central government and the oil companies is responsible for the LPG crisis in Jammu and Kashmir. The dearth of distributors has compounded the crisis,” he said, adding it would further add to the consumers’ woes and snowball into a major law and order situation “if the central and state governments and the oil companies do not come forward to address the problem.”

He blamed the state government for its “ineptitude” in addressing the suffering of consumers who were subjected to wait in long queues for hours to get an LPG cylinder.

Tarigami voiced concern over the “huge deficiency” of cylinders required to deal with the ensuing winter in Kashmir.

Referring to media reports alleging nexus between gas dealers and agents, the CPI(M) leader asked the government to curb such tendencies. He accused the oil companies of taking the consumers for a ride due to central government’s wrong policies. (With inputs from Agencies)

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