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Cooking gas mafia gets active again

THE CITY is once again facing a crisis of cooking gas owing to short supply, black-marketing and diversion to commercial outlets, thanks to the authorities decision to call off the crackdown it had initiated against the LPG pilferers in October last year.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 00:13 IST

THE CITY is once again facing a crisis of cooking gas owing to short supply, black-marketing and diversion to commercial outlets, thanks to the authorities decision to call off the crackdown it had initiated against the LPG pilferers in October last year.

But even as people complained to HT Lucknow Live about the inordinate delay and hardships being faced by them in procuring the delivery of their domestic gas cylinders, the administration authorities denied there was any LPG crisis in the State capital. “Genuine consumers are not facing any problem. Those who are complaining are either holders of illegal cylinders or have a vested interest,” said additional district magistrate NS Pandey.

Some of the consumers, however, had a different take on the issue. “We were not facing any problem till a couple of months back. But all of a sudden my LPG dealer has started giving all sorts of excuses for his inability to make the delivery on time,” said Abdul Hadi, a resident of Ghai Lane in Hazratganj. NU Alam of first lane Nishatganj seconded this. He blamed unscrupulous gas agencies for deliberately creating the crisis to make a fast buck through black-marketing of cooking gas cylinders in the city.

“The biggest culprits in the black-marketing of domestic LPG are the commercial consumers. Many hotel owners and tea-stall owners have booked connections in the names of their family members, thereby making the misuse of domestic LPG easier,” said KN Srivastava of Patel Nagar, Alambagh. Srivastava, who had made a booking with Arunodaya Gas Service, said he was yet to get delivery of his LPG cylinder. Similar was the complaint of Pratima Agarwal, a resident of Wazir Hasan Road, who said she too keeping her fingers crossed and waiting for her turn at the Sahkari Gas Agency.

ADM Pandey, on the other hand, said that what people were terming as delay was in fact the norm. “The norms stipulate a gap of 21 days between two supplies. The perceived shortage is because customers are seeking refills more frequently. Some of them book a refill within a few days of the previous supply,” pointed out. But what the authorities could not explain was that if this was the rule then why people did not face any problem or delay earlier?

First Published: Jan 19, 2006 00:13 IST