With the lorry strike in full swing in the state against the backdrop of the diesel price hike and LPG cylinder movement poised to be hit shortly, the capital city and district will face severe shortage in supplies once again. The decision to cap the annual allocation per consumer at six cylinders will aggravate the crisis as never before, it is feared.
It is estimated that that the district requires 35 truck-loads of LPG cylinders daily in normal circumstance, ie 10,000 cylinders a day. A truck-load carries 300-306 cylinders.
“There was a 16-day backlog in supplies owing to a stir of head-load workers which started on July 25. LPG cylinders totalling an approximate 1.6 lakh units were pending in the district. Owing to the head-load workers strike, the trucks were diverted from the Parippally IOC plant, which caters primarily to Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts, to Idukki and Kottayam districts for quite some time,” said Sangeeth Kumar, state general secretary of All-India LPG Distributors Federation.
“The system was reverted and normalised only recently. But then came the Chala LPG tanker blaze and the non-arrival of bulk supplies to various bottling plants in the state. Compounded with it came the Onam season, when demand grew by a minimum 50 percent. Last week, the safety discrepancies in the Udayamperoor IOC plant emerged. It had its toll on the Parippally plant also, as a few truck-loads were re-routed to areas catered by the Udayamperoor plant,” he added.
According to indications, though safety rechecks are being conducted at the Udayamperoor plant on a fast pace, any delay would bring in lot of difficulties for end-users. Obviously, T’Puram district will feel the pinch as never before, fears LPG dealers in the district.
Sangeeth Kumar also is of the view that the decision to cap cylinder supplies would lead to hoarding and black marketing. “The ill-thought move will bring utter chaos in the market,” he warned. Sangeeth Kumar has presented the stand of the Dealers’ Federation at a high-level meeting convened by the Union Government in New Delhi on Monday.
Booking for LPG cylinders is proving to be a herculean task now, as dealers are cut up with the emerging scenario. With an uncertain phase ahead, the period of delivery, which was 30 days on an average earlier, is also expected to go up. “Already, we have instructed our booking staff that consumers should be told of a 45-day delivery time at the time of booking itself,” disclosed a dealer, who preferred anonymity.