Cooking gas consumers in the city are facing an acute shortage of LPG cylinders for the past several days. They have alleged that hundreds of cylinders are being diverted to the black market by the LPG mafia in collusion with dealers in the city.
The situation has worsened after the Centre’s decision to fix a cap of six cylinders per annum for each household at the subsidised rate of about R400. The shortage has fuelled the illegal sale of LPG cylinders. Residents claim that they are now paying R1,600 to R2,000 to buy a gas cylinder in black market.
Consumers allege that dealers create an artificial shortage and extend the waiting period, forcing them to buy cylinders in black.
“My cylinder ran out of gas five days back. And my agency delayed the supply for 15 days. The gas dealers are deliberately holding back supply to earn illegal money. They are selling cylinders at exorbitant rate illegally,” said Manoj Kumar, a resident of Sector 12.
Authorities say the illegal trade was fuelled by an increase in demand and a shortage of cylinders, particularly after the recent decision of fixing cap on the use of cylinder by the central government. However, the district administration has said the crisis will be resolved soon.
“We will meet the district magistrate and officials of Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum to sort out the issues regarding the new guidelines,” said the district supply officer.
“We know residents are suffering due to shortage of cooking gas. Today we have formed a task force, which will launch a drive against the black marketeers to end the illegal sale of LPG cylinders,” said Pushpraj Singh, city magistrate, Noida.
The government has started inspecting consumer details with the help of a new software. The district officials believe that about one lakh fake consumers exist in Noida, which has a total seven lakh domestic gas consumers. “It will take some time. Before that, the supply will be affected,” said a district administration official, requesting anonymity.