BARIPADA: The long wait for refilling LPG cylinders has the residents of Baripada frustrated. Facing acute scarcity of cylinders for the last couple of months, they alleged that the local gas agency failed to supply them refill even a month after booking as per regular norms.
As per norms a person with two cylinders can book the second for refill at least 21 days after booking the first one. The consumers, however, allege violation of the rule by the agencies. As many consumers fail to get cylinders in time they depend on the black market, where the cylinders are available in plenty but at a premium.
A consumer, Bibhuti Bhusan Patra, wondered that when the agencies blame it on short supply, how are the cylinders available on the black market?
There are two distributors of LPG in the town. Surprisingly, even as consumers stand in long queues for their share, vehicles loaded with cylinders make their way to hotels, restaurants and ‘dhabas’.
Sources said around 1.5 lakh consumers depend on the two distributors and areas that fall within 10-km radius from the town. The ORMAS unit also has been providing cylinders to SHGs in rural and urban areas.
The consumers alleged the LPG cylinders, meant for domestic use, are supplied to business establishments.
While one cooking cylinder costs around Rs 420, the consumers have to cough up Rs 500 to Rs 600 if they purchase it from the black market. “The short supply is due to a nexus between Civil Supplies officials and distributors,” they alleged.
A complainant Maniklal Pani said huge number of gas cylinders could be seized if Civil Supplies officials raid hotels, ‘dhabas’, restaurants and roadside eateries in Baripada town.
Civil Supplies officials admitted that the consumers were facing inconvenience. Assistance Civil Supplies Officer Pusan Munda said the officials would conduct raids if they are informed about the illegal trade.