The blame game continues

The blame game continues

No matter how meticulously one follows instructions regarding the automated gas cylinder booking, there is no escape from the harsh truth that it will not be delivered for at least three weeks.

Owing to this uncertainity, a lot of people in the City are opting to buy cylinders in black. For starters, the process of applying for a cylinder is still very unclear. And the delay is also leaving a lot of people miffed.

Metrolife speaks to a few people and asked them how they deal with the indefinite delays in the delivery of LPG cylinders.

Most LPG dealers claim that there has been no delay from their end but it is the truckers’ strike that caused the delay. Issues at the distributor’s level too contributed to the problem. But it is the ordinary people who are at the receiving end. They say that the indefinite delays cause a lot of inconvenience.

A senior official with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) says that the backlog was cleared two months ago.  “We have cleared all applications, be it those for new connections or the ones related to the delivery of LPG. There was backlog in January, February and March during the truckers’ strike but after that, things have been moving fast at our end.”

Another official with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, who didn’t want to be quoted, adds, “We have stopped granting approval for a second gas connection. There is a huge backlog for new connections with the distributors and the list will be cleared one by one.”
S Ramesh, territory manager with (Bangalore) Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, says they deliver nothing less than 22 cylinders per day. “We have introduced a lot of consumer-friendly measures such as booking via SMS and the interactive voice recording system, wherein the customer can make sure that their cylinder has not gone to anybody else. Through the transparency portal, the consumers can check their booking status and keep a tab on the number of cylinders that have been delivered,” explains Ramesh. When asked about extra money being demanded on the delivery of the cylinder, Ramesh says, “We have instructed  all the distributors to warn the delivery agents against demanding any money. If the consumers complain, we will initiate action against them.”        

Give the ordinary people a chance to vent their grievances about the LPG delivery system and new connections, and their list is endless. Abin John, an IT professional, points out that it normally doesn’t take more than two or three days to get an LPG cylinder.
“However, last month, it took close to a month to get a cylinder. Cylinders are available in the black market for Rs 900 to Rs 1,000. If you ask the delivery boys, they will get you the cylinder. I wonder how they are managing to get them. This cannot happen without the dealer’s knowledge,” explains Abin.

It’s not just Abin who slaps charges of corruption against LPG distributors; even Anjana Rebecca, a professional, says that she has had similar experiences with the LPG delivery system.

Anjana asks for a replacement of cylinder only once in three or four months as she depends more on cooking with an induction cooker or a microwave. “My LPG delivery contact has worked out an understanding with me, according to which whenever I need a replacement, I can call him directly and he makes sure I get it within a day, if not earlier. I presume he uses my consumer number to help others in distress during the months that I don’t ask for the replacement” she explains.

She suspects that he makes some money on the side by misusing her gas connection. 

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