LPG distributors continue to hoodwink consumers | punjab | Hindustan Times
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LPG distributors continue to hoodwink consumers

punjab Updated: Feb 14, 2014 21:25 IST
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LPG transparency portals, launched by the ministry for petroleum and natural gas in 2012 to empower LPG users do a sort of social audit on LPG supplies, notwithstanding, distributing agencies continue to hoodwink the consumers as well as the oil companies in one way or the other, fudging delivery data being one of them.


Even as gullible consumers cry foul that they do not get delivery on time, distributors make sure that they do get it, albeit in their books. A random checking of delivery books of a number of domestic LPG consumers and matching them with the record updated on the transparency portals of the three oil marketing companies (OMCs) - Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation - revealed that consumers were delivered gas only on papers.

For instance, Parminder Kumar (consumer no. 709040) has been delivered 8 cylinders between April 2013 and February 8, 2014 as per the transparency portal, whereas he has received only 6. Two cylinders were apparently delivered somewhere else without making an entry in his pass book.

Similarly, Jaswinder Kaur (no. 722686) was stated to have been delivered 7 cylinders, but she got only 5. Sarabjit Singh (no. 719483) received 6 cylinders as per the entries in his pass book, whereas the company delivered him 8, one of which was booked and delivered on the same date.

It is noteworthy that the companies have introduced a rating system for gas agencies according to which, the agencies, which deliver LPG in 48 hours, get a five-star rating. The lowest rating is one star where the delivery exceeds eight days.

To get bonus, the distributors often show prompt delivery whereas consumers have to wait for days together. All agencies have adopted a 21-day waiting period norm which is also illegitimate.

Social Democratic Party president Jai Gopal Dhiman, who has launched an awareness campaign among the public against the alleged malpractices of the marketing and distributing companies, claimed that the number of virtual consumers was very high.

"For distributors, it is the safest way to sell cylinders in the black market. Cash memo number and booking number is not written on the delivery book which leaves a lot of scope for trickery", said Dhiman, adding that withdrawing cylinders from a consumer's account without his knowledge amounted to cheating and violation of human rights.

He alleged that rural consumers were the most victimised due to low literacy rate and lack of awareness. "I have written more than a hundred letters to the authorities concerned to streamline the LPG delivery system and plug the loopholes but to no avail," he rued.

Notably, the ministry had introduced a web-platform to bring transparency to LPG transactions to all citizens across the country. The portal can be accessed through the official website of the ministry, www.petroleum.nic.in or through companies' respective websites, www.indane.co.in, www.ebharatgas.com and www.hindustanpetroleum.com.

Consumers can know their LPG booking status, refill history or access any other information. They can also file their complaints or give feedback on the portal.

District food and supplies controller Rajnish Kumari, when contacted, said that she was seized of the matter and would talk to the respective companies in this regard.

ABOUT PORTALS

The union ministry has introduced a web-platform to bring transparency to LPG transactions of all citizens across the country.

The portal can be accessed through the official website of the ministry, www.petroleum.nic.in or through companies' respective websites, www.indane.co.in, www.ebharatgas.com and hindustanpetroleum.com.

Consumers can know their LPG booking status, refill history or access any other information. They can also file their complaints or give feedback on the portal.