Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder distribution is likely to be disrupted in the state from Monday, said gas agency and oil company authorities. All Kerala Indane Distribution Association (AKIDA) president George Mathew said the delay in issuing a new circular by the Petroleum Ministry with respect to its new policy decision in which 11 cylinders will be distributed this fiscal and 12 twelve cylinders from next fiscal on paying the subsidy amount directly to the gas agencies will force them to shut down shops.
The lack of clarity in new system would trigger clashes between agency owners and consumers. “Union Minister M Veerappa Moily last Thursday announced that the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme would be kept on hold.
As per the latest announcement, the consumers can avail themselves of subsidised cylinders as usual by paying the subsidised amount directly to gas agencies. However, the Ministry has not yet issued a new circular in this regard to the oil companies. Hence the agencies are left with no option but to continue with the DBTL scheme,” he said.
“As per the scheme, LPG cylinders are distributed at an unsubsidised rate to the consumers who have linked Aadhaar card number and bank account number to the LPG connection number and the subsidy will be deposited in the bank account. Also, LPG has to be given at a subsidised rate to the consumers who have not enrolled their names into the scheme,” he said.
At present, consumers who have enrolled and not enrolled their names in the DBTL scheme are seeking LPG cylinders at the subsidised rate. “However, we cannot distribute cylinders at subsidised rate until the Ministry issues a new circular. The delay will force us to stop distribution in the state. It is difficult to make people understand the situation and there are high chances of altercations arising between the agency staff and consumers. The Oil Ministry or state government should take necessary measures to resolve the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) said that they stopped distributing LPG cylinders to the agency godowns on Saturday. “The distribution of gas cylinders from plants in Kerala has stopped, as the agencies have refused to take them owing to the confusion prevailing over the billing system. Hence, the distribution can resume only after we get clear instructions on the distribution system and billing system from our headquarters in New Delhi. The headquarters should update the billing system in the server according to the latest announcement of the Union Government,” they said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs told ‘City Express’ that the DBTL scheme will take a little time to come into effect. “There are so many procedures in this regard. Meanwhile, eligible consumers will be able to avail themselves of subsidised cylinders according the system followed earlir,” he said.
He also said that the Union Government was doing everything to resolve the LPG woes of the people.“As per the earlier announcement, two additional cylinders would be provided this year and 12 subsidised cylinders from next financial year will be ensured for the people. Also, the government will take initiatives to speed up the procedures related to its new policy decision,” he said.
The DBTL scheme has not been withdrawn. “The scheme is aimed at controlling LPG black market. The government has appointed an expert committee and they will study the proper implementation methods of the scheme. The scheme may be reintroduced after finding an effective method to implement it,” he said.