With many agencies of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) stalling operations on Monday, the LPG cylinder distribution in the state was partially hit.
According to the All-Kerala Indane Distribution Association, the shut down was owing to the lack of clarity over the system to be followed by the agencies for cylinder distribution.
“The new policy decision of the Petroleum Ministry was generally interpreted as that all consumers will get cylinders at subsidised rate directly from the agencies. However, the oil companies have not yet updated the billing system as per the Union Ministry’s announcement putting on hold the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) Scheme. But the consumers have been asking for cylinders as per the new announcement. This forced many agencies to shut down,” said George Mathew, president, distributors association.
He added that the oil companies increased the cap on LPG cylinders for this financial year from nine to 11 in the common server on Monday morning.
“This will enable us to distribute as many as 11 cylinders in this financial year. We are also waiting for a clarification from the Centre on the system to be followed for distribution,” he added.
Meanwhile, the top officials of IOC and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) told City Express that they were yet to get any directive from the Petroleum Ministry to provide all gas cylinders at subsidized rate. They added that the interpretations given by politicians and media on the new directive might have led to the present confusion.
“In a recent statement, Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily had said that DBTL scheme has been put on hold. It may have meant that till the scheme is re-introduced, distribution must be carried out under the existing system. The existing system is that all who enrolled their names under the DBTL scheme will get subsidy through banks and others will be eligible for availing themselves the subsidized cylinders from agencies,” the officials said. They said the Centre should come forward to clear the confusions.
The operations at IOC’s plant at Udayamperoor, which was disrupted last Saturday, resumed on Monday. The unavailability of bulk LPG loads from the company’s terminal at Mangalapuram had hit the operations. “The operations were resumed using some bulk loads from the terminal and Kochi Refinery,” said officials.
They added that many bullet tankers were not granted permission to enter into the state. “The Motor Vehicles Department had initiated enforcing safety measures to be taken by the bullet tankers. The decision was taken by Transport Commissioner Rishi Raj Sigh in wake of frequent tanker lorry tragedies. The authorities seized at the check post many bullet tankers from neighbouring states which did not adhere to the guidelines,” officials said.
“If bullet tankers fail to stick to safety norms by Tuesday, it will affect the operation of the plant. However, we hope that the issue will be resolved soon. The oil companies have also given instructions to the tanker owners,” they added.