LPG Deadline Ends, 1 Million Yet To Register

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Govt Callously Indifferent To People’s Ordeal: Protesters

SRINAGAR – With the deadline for the registration of LPG connections ending today, long queues of consumers were witnessed outside the shops of gas dealers Thursday.

Hundreds of agitated consumers demonstrated against the state government and the oil companies for their failure to facilitate registrations and to make documentation process easy. Shouting anti-government slogans, they accused the authorities of dilly-dallying the process to reduce the number of consumers eligible for subsidized LPG.

On the one hand, they said, a cumbersome procedure has been prescribed for the registration or change of name and on the other the deadline set for process completion for about 25 lakh consumers expired today with over 10 lakh yet to be registered. And, to make things worse, the number of registration counters set up by the three principal oil companies – Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil Corporation – is far less than required. Of 101 counters, Jammu has 58 and Kashmir 43.

Talking to reporters, several consumers said the NC-led government had miserably failed to protect the rights of millions of consumers. It did not make any serious effort to get the cap on subsidized LPG cylinders raised or the deadline for registration extended beyond November 15. He said the charges of Rs 7,000 for fresh registration or Rs 2,150 for name change were too prohibitive for a vast majority of poor consumers.

It may be recalled the Petroleum ministry or the oil companies have not responded to the   allegedly frantic calls from the state authorities for either extending registration deadline or opening more counters, leave alone raising the cap on subsidized cylinders in view of the state’s extremely harsh geo-climatic conditions. Although the CAPD minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon, said registration of all consumers would be ensured, his director in Kashmir and Jammu have preferred to be tight-lipped about any such possibility. 

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