Too few LPG monitors fuel pilferage

Distribution agencies in and around the steel city are pilfering cooking gas at will in the absence of a strict monitoring mechanism.

By Kumud Jenamani in Jamshedpur
  • Published 13.09.18
An LPG godown in Bistupur, Jamshedpur. Picture by Animesh Sengupta

Jamshedpur: Distribution agencies in and around the steel city are pilfering cooking gas at will in the absence of a strict monitoring mechanism.

East Singhbhum district supply officer who is responsible for ensuring proper distribution of LPG cylinders is unable to contain the menace in the face of acute manpower crunch. As a result, consumers are paying more, getting less.

Colloquially known as "gas cutting", the pilferage is primarily executed by delivery boys associated with various LPG agencies. There are 22 registered agencies in Jamshedpur and most of them cheat consumers.

A survey by this newspaper revealed that while "gas cutting" is mostly done by a delivery boy on way to a consumer's address, several distribution agencies steal LPG even at their godowns. The pilfered gas is then sold to various eateries and hotels.

An LPG distributor is supposed to provide 14.2kg of cooking gas in a cylinder, the combined weight being 29kg. But, consumers get an average of 12.5kg of LPG, 1.7kg less than what they pay for.

"When I was in Gamharia (Seraikela-Kharsawan district), an LPG cylinder would last 45 days. After I shifted to Mango in January this year, I changed the gas agency too. The cylinder supplied by Arati Indane in Mango does not last for even 35 days," complained Suman Sinha, a resident of Dimna Road.

Dilip Kumar Singh, owner of Ambe Gas Agency in Burmamines denied the common allegation against distributors. "Some agencies operating in fringe areas of the city may be pilfering cooking gas. But, the ones that are housed in main areas of the city like Burmamines are honest," he said.

R.P. Rahi, a senior marketing officer in Jamshedpur who reports to the district supply officer, said they had received two complaints against Green Indane, an LPG distributor in Mango, in recent times.

"Three months ago, police had also seized a vehicle from Chandrawali Complex in Kasidih, Sakchi. There were 37 LPG cylinders and all were lighter than they should have been," he said.

Rahi added that inadequate number of marketing officers in the district was facilitating pilferage of cooking gas. "We have 18 sanctioned posts, but our current strength is five. Owing to this manpower crisis, the department feels handicapped in curbing the menace."

Rajat Singh, area manager of Indian Oil Corporation, said consumers should accept cylinders only after getting them weighed during delivery.

"If anyone suspects pilferage, a complaint should be lodged with the agency concerned. Besides, it is the responsibility of police and district supply department to stop LPG pilferage by conducting surprise raids," he added.