The delay in delivering domestic LPG cylinders and frequent closure of the gas agencies for various reasons have deprived people of availing themselves of the benefits of the new policy decisions by which the quota of subsidised cylinders has been increased from nine to 12 per year.
As per the decision, those who have already purchased nine subsidised cylinders in the current fiscal will get two more. Eligible consumers can avail themselves of a total of 12 subsidised cylinders from 2014-15 fiscal.
However, experts in the industry were of the opinion that most people in the state are likely to miss the additional cylinders this fiscal as some distributors are taking more than a month from the date of booking to deliver cylinders. “The largest LPG distributor oil company in the state has people waiting for at least 15 days after delivery for the next booking. Also, each order takes a minimum of 30 days for delivery. Hence, the minimum time taken for one cylinder to be delivered is 45 days. Obviously, consumers will be able to avail themselves a maximum of eight to nine cylinders a year,” said experts. They also said that the frequent disruption of the gas distribution system is an added woe that leaves consumers helpless of buying even nine subsidised cylinders this year. “The confusion over the subsidy of LPG cylinders during the implementation of Direct Benefit Transfers for LPG (DBTL) scheme caused the frequent shut down of the gas agencies in the past months. Later, the sudden withdrawal of the scheme created more chaos and hit the distribution system badly. Hence, most people are yet to avail themselves of nine subsidised cylinders,” they said.
They further said that if the strike call of the distributors association turns into a reality, it will hit the normal life of the people. “As many as 340 gas distributors in the state will shut shop if the all-India strike of the gas cylinder distributors takes place. Though there will be provision to acquire additional subsidised cylinders, consumers will not get the opportunity to acquire them simply because the remaining one month of the fiscal will witness stalemate in distribution. This is likely to continue in the next year and in effect there will be no benefit for people eligible for LPG cylinder cap hike,” they opined.
All-Kerala LPG Distributors Association Southern Region president A R Venugopal said that allotment of new agencies, imposing of heavy financial penalties and termination of dealership have prompted the agencies to launch the strike.