Taking note of the LPG crisis, the Jammu and Kashmir high court has directed the state government to provide cooking gas to people temporarily till the time they complete their paper work. The court also asked the government to submit details about the number of dealers required for proper distribution of gas cylinders to consumers.
Taking a suo-motu cognisance on the issue, a division bench comprising justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and justice Hasnain Massodi on Wednesday directed the state government to submit a report on the LPG dealer-consumer ratio on the next date of hearing on November 2.
The court's directives have come after certain sections of the media highlighted the problems being faced by people due to the cap announced on distribution of subsidised gas cylinders and the restricted number of LPG dealers operating in the state.
According to reports, the state has just 100 LPG dealers and 25 lakh consumers, which is giving rise to wide gap in demand and supply, especially post cap on distribution of subsidised gas cylinders.
In light of such news reports, the court has also asked the government to furnish details about the total requirement of gas cylinders to be distributed per day and the present supply position.
The government was also directed to file an affidavit indicating the mode and method for revalidating documents of the consumers and the process to be followed by those who have gas connections but do not have the required papers.
The court directed the government to indicate steps taken by CAPD department for ensuring supply of gas cylinders till consumers are supplied with the right documents.
Observing that the public sufferings regarding the cooking gas crisis appears to have not been mitigated, the court said it was constrained to take cognisance of the matter in the interest of the public at large.
"We are disturbed to see the captions as have appeared in various newspapers which demonstrate as to how people are suffering and made to wait in long queues," the court said.
"The consumers are shown to be running from pillar to post, anxiety among the masses is projected to be very grave and humanistic approach in distribution of gas cylinders appears to have become casualty."
The bench directed that the matter be registered as Public Interest Litigation and arrayed commissioner-secretary to government, CAPD; divisional commissioner, Kashmir; director, CAPD, Kashmir, and deputy commissioner, Srinagar, as respondents.