LPG Cap Windfall For Oil Cos

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‘Registrations, Name Changes To Fetch Them Rs 500 Cr’

SRINAGAR – The recently announced cap on subsidized LPG cylinders has come as a windfall for oil companies, who have been accused of fleecing millions of consumers in the state, while the National Conference-led coalition government, allegedly preoccupied with the dubious affairs of its functionaries, remains clueless of people’s plight. Mocking at the official claims of hassle-free procedures, registration for subsidized connections in the valley has been stopped by the oil companies for unknown reasons.

According to a report circulated by local news agency, KNS, millions of consumers in the state were facing difficulties in completing registrations for new connections even as the November 15 deadline for the purpose is about to expire. With two premier companies, Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil Corporation, having just around 100 counters – 58 in Jammu and 43 in Kashmir, the completion of the process is almost impossible.

Against a total of 25 lakh LPG consumers in the state, they have completed registration of only 10 lakh while that of the remaining 15 lakh is to be completed within a mere three days.

Reports said the oil companies were charging at least Rs 7,000 a consumer for every new registration and Rs 2,150 for changing the name of existing consumer. The desperate consumers have to cough up more money to arrange various prescribed documents like residence and identity proof.

The earning from the two categories of consumers, reports said, was estimated at around Rs 500 crore. At least 50 per cent of the existing consumers across the state are known to be having no registration while a large number have such documents on others’ names. Long queues of consumers outside the distribution outlets of oil companies speak of the hardships they were facing to complete the registration or to obtain a cylinder.

Meanwhile, reports said, distribution of subsidized LPG had been stopped all over the state. Moreover, the consumers who had been getting the subsidized supply for decades past are being put in the common (non-subsidized) category for unknown reasons. It has been alleged that the oil companies would restrict the number of consumers under the subsidized category to boost the sale of non-subsidized LPG cylinders. (KNS)

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