Don't shell out extra for your Cylinder! - The New Indian Express

Don't shell out extra for your Cylinder!

Published: 29th August 2013 08:22 AM

Last Updated: 29th August 2013 08:22 AM

Next time when your gas delivery boy rings the doorbell, hands over a bill of Rs 399.50 and then demands Rs 450 or Rs 500 for the new cylinder, think twice before you pay the amount.

Documents obtained  through Right to Information (RTI) Act have established that the consumer need not pay anything more than the amount mentioned in the bill, as it already has the provisions for money to be paid to the person delivering the cylinder. RTI activist S Easwaran says that an amount of Rs 35 to be paid to the delivery boy is already included in the bill, but gas consumers in the city do not look into this and are silently paying an additional Rs 50 to 100 to the delivery boy.

He said that the original rate of Rs 399.50 per cylinder is for a distance of 7 km from the agency. If it is more than, it should be recorded in the bill. “The delivery boy has no business to collect any money other than that mentioned in the bill,” he says.

A delivery boy in Chennai makes anywhere between Rs 50,000 to  Rs 1 lakh by delivering the gas cylinders. And what’s, he even has the agency on his payroll, claim activists. “Imagine if he delivers 50 cylinders a day and charges Rs 50 extra per cylinder, he is making Rs 2,500 per day. Apart from this, he gets a commission of Rs 35 per cylinder from the agency,” says Easwaran, who was instrumental in launching a campaign against such unethical means of extracting money from gas consumers in Tiruppur.

With many households depending upon LPG gas, consumers in Chennai fear to think twice before paying up. “We want the gas immediately, so we try to keep him in good humour,” says a consumer from Adyar.

“I am planning to spread awareness among the people here. We are encouraging such things by remaining silent to the whole issue,” said Easwaran, who now has joined a political outfit.

Interestingly, the gas cylinder is priced differently by delivery boys in different regions. In Virugambakkam and Mugalivakkam, one pays Rs 450 per cylinder while in other areas it costs nearly Rs 500. Martin of Mugalivakkam says that although he gets a bill of Rs 399.50 paise, he pays Rs 430 plus an addition of Rs 15 that the delivery boy demands. “In Chinmaya Nagar, where I live, the price tag for a cylinder is Rs 450,” says Senthil.

Easwaran says that before paying the money demanded by the delivery boy, one should ensure that the amount is also included in the bill. “If the delivery boy refuses, then complain to the agency. And if that does not work then one can complain to the divisional office of the petroleum company. This could result in termination of the contract with the agency,” he says.

Easwaran also highlighted how many gas agencies are milking the consumers by demanding Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,500 for a new connection. “For a new connection, all you require is Rs 1,450 as deposit for a cylinder, Rs 150 for a regulator, Rs 399.50 for a refill in addition to Rs 50 for installation and Rs 35 for gas booking,” he adds. But agencies try to sell their wares like pressure cookers and gas stoves, he adds. Even a second gas connection costs somewhere around Rs 7,500 to Rs 8,500 in the city, he adds. But it should not cost more than Rs 1,850, he adds.

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