The Telegraph
Monday , February 24 , 2014

Gas dealers join strike

- No LPG refills from today

Homemakers, be little stingy while using the cooking gas.

For, members of Jharkhand LPG Dealers’ Association on Sunday announced that they would join the indefinite countrywide agitation starting Tuesday to press for relaxed marketing discipline guidelines. This means that cooking gas refills will not be delivered during the strike days.

“Although the strike is from Tuesday, LPG distributors in the state are usually closed on Monday. Hence, effectively, the 160-plus distributors across Jharkhand will stop distributing refills from tomorrow (Monday) morning,” said Jayant Chauhan, president of Jharkhand LPG Dealers’ Association.

The indefinite strike has been called jointly by LPG Distributors of India and the All-India LPG Distributors Federation to press for the withdrawal of heavy financial penalties and termination of distributorship clauses under the marketing guidelines.

There are roughly 2.5 lakh consumers in Jharkhand and about 40,000 cylinders are delivered daily. Chauhan admitted that disruption of delivery for even one day would create a huge backlog that could create a domino effect by way of delayed delivery for weeks.

Besides demanding a relaxed marketing discipline guidelines, the distributors are also pressing for termination of multiple pricing cylinders, pilfer-proof seals on cylinders, ban on sale of smaller spurious cylinders and a foolproof delivery system.

Speaking about their demands, Chauhan said they have been demanding that each cylinder be sealed with a tamper-proof seal to stop enroute pilferage and to ensure that consumers are not cheated. “We have also been requesting for quality checks to ensure that customers are not delivered leaking cylinders,” he said.

The president of the dealers’ association also added that the distributors were often held responsible for all the lapses in the system. In fact, Chauhan added, the LPG distributor was the last in the entire supply chain.

“There are several other links like the oil marketing companies, equipment manufacturers, LPG bottling plants, transporters etc. Guidelines should be framed in such a manner that it covers the entire distribution chain. Unfortunately, all guidelines are directed towards the distributors,” he said. , adding that the distributor was blamed for everything from underweight and expired cylinders to leaking cylinders.

He also alleged oil companies of threatening dealers with disciplinary action, if the distributors tried to return the leaking cylinders. “In rural areas, the situation is even worse. The companies often pressurise dealers to sell commercial cylinders, though there is hardly any demand for those,” Chauhan added.

Contemplating such a situation where refills will not be available for days, Rita Choudhury of Radium Road has a smart solution. “I will buy an induction plate,” said the 65-year-old homemaker.