For Jaideep Kumar Gupta, from Bilaspur in Uttar Pradesh, the rather simple task of getting a cooking gas cylinder often turned into a troublesome chore.
First, the LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas) dealer insisted that a refill would be only available after 21 days. Secondly, the dealer insisted there was a shortage of supply and that there was no discount for picking up the cylinder from the warehouse. Followed by some other evasive answers.
Tired, 38-year-old Gupta —nominated for National RTI Awards in the citizens’ category — filed an RTI application to know whether Indane had a 21-day gap rule for booking cylinders.
What he found amazed him.
Indane, who have an office in Noida, clarified that there was no rule that said a gas cylinder could be booked only after 21 days of the delivery of the previous one.
Adding that there had been no shortage in the supply of LPG cylinders to the dealers from its end — contrary to the dealers’ frequent claims.
Another RTI application, filed by Gupta, revealed that Indane gave a discount of Rs 8 per cylinder, in UP, to the customers who picked up the cylinder from their dealer’s warehouse.
“Most of the people in Bilaspur pick up their cylinders from the warehouse, which means that the dealers have been cheating the customers all these years. Now they can’t,” he said.
It may be true elsewhere, too.
Off late, LPG dealerships of public-sector oil and gas companies have become a bane for most people.
The problems range from a deliberately broken system of booking gas cylinders to delays in supplying it.
Another RTI application by Gupta has exposed that “almost half of the chemist shops in Uttar Pradesh are without a pharmacist even though it’s mandatory to have a one”.
He is now trying to expose irregularities in drug distribution in government hospitals, which mostly claim that they don’t have the stock to supply free medicines.