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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

New LPG rules add fresh flame to blackmarket

Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, November 01, 2012
First Published: 12:02 IST(1/11/2012) | Last Updated: 12:05 IST(1/11/2012)

One-kitchen-one-connection-plus-six-subsidised-cylinder rule has only helped black market mushroom to the consumer’s chagrin.

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Sample this! A cylinder, which was available for Rs. 600-700 range in the black market before the announcement of new system, is now available at not less than Rs. 900-1,300 in the city. And people are buying it as there is no system to check blackmarketeers.

“I purchased a cylinder at Rs. 1,250 recently. Before this new system, I used to get it within Rs. 500,” Ashutosh Rastogi, an LU research scholar who lives at a rented accommodation in Aliganj said.

Clearly, those who buy cylinders from black market are facing a tough time to keep their kitchen fires burning with the spurt in prices. Not only this, even the registered customers are being harassed by the agencies in the garb of the ‘new system’ being implemented. The agencies are shamelessly selling the subsidised cylinders at prices more than fixed. And they don’t even mind furnishing a receipt for it.

“I got a cylinder from a gas agency at Rs. 513. He even gave a receipt,” Rajesh Verma, a resident of Vivek Khand, Gomti Nagar who purchased it from Captain Manoj Pandey gas agency said. He later came to know that the actual price of subsidised cylinders in Lucknow is Rs. 417.

The anomalies don’t stop here. Fuelled by the hike in liquefied petroleum gas, pilfer dens, transferring the highly inflammable fuel from domestic cylinders to commercial cylinders, are mushrooming in Lucknow. The fact came to light last week after a joint raid by district administration and weights and measurement department in densely populated Gomti Nagar neighborhood. The raid yielded as many as 31 cylinders being used for an illegal as well as extremely risky practice. The team also arrested a local gas agency deliveryman Anurag during from the spot. A police complaint was also lodged.

“We are continuing raids to check the black marketing and other illegal practices in the city. We have escalated the drives especially after the new system was announced,” Sanjay Kumar Singh Yadav additional district magistrate (civil-supplies) said.

Besides, a large number of food stalls and factories are freely using the cylinders meant for domestic use. Such cylinders are openly purchased from the black market as authorities have failed to check the illegal practice. Many consumers also complained that the agencies forced them to go for fresh connections, instead of a transfer.

After the cap was implemented, a customer can get only six subsidised domestic LPG cylinders per financial year. Also a ban on multiple connections is also being implemented. It means that one kitchen of a family can have only one gas connection, irrespective of the company.

“We are making efforts to streamline the entire LPG distribution. The idea is to ensure that genuine consumers are not denied the fuel,” DP Singh, President (UP Chapter) of All India LPG Distributors’ Federation said. This will help checking the blackmarketing to a great extent, he said adding.


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