Govt to survey on illegal LPG centres

The Delhi government is planning to intensify a survey to narrow down on pockets where illegal five kg cooking gas cylinders are being manufactured, filled and sold.

A senior government official said, “We are busy identifying the places where such illegal cylinders are being sold before raiding them.”

Shopkeepers indulging in the illegal sale will face strict action, he said.

According to officials of the Food and Supplies Department, only the oil marketing companies are authorised to manufacture and sell the five kg cylinders through petrol pumps, but many manufacturers and shopkeepers deal in them due to their demand in the low-income groups.

“Mostly, the gas in small cylinders is filled in an unsafe manner from bigger cylinders sold to domestic customers by gas agencies,” said an official.

The decision to conduct the survey follows a series of recent crackdowns on people involved in illegal filling of cooking gas.

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Regulation of Supply and Distribution) Order, 2000, issued under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, bans unauthorised possession, supply and consumption of LPG, as well as its unauthorised storage and transport.

Before the Delhi government launched a campaign to check the illegal sale of five kg cylinders, the central government launched a scheme in January to sell oil companies’ five kg cylinders at petrol pumps in the city.

The initiative was aimed at popularising genuine five kg cylinders – popular among low income groups, students, IT professionals and BPO employees who need to shift base frequently.

The purchase of a five kg cylinder costs around Rs 1,000 plus taxes, while a regulator costs Rs 250 and taxes. The first time charge include a security deposit for the cylinder.
A refill is sold at the prevailing market price of over Rs 500 each.

Officials said the reason why the illegal cylinders were in demand was that they cost almost half the price of the five kg refill cylinders sold by the oil companies.

“The consumers presume that the illegal cylinders are cheap, but normally these carry not more than three kg gas,” said an official.

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