Consumers already fuming at the Aadhaar-LPG fiasco in the city and Ranga Reddy district are further infuriated by the arbitrary amounts demanded by delivery boys from gas agencies for delivering the cylinder at their doorstep.
While they would earlier be paid a tip of Rs. 5 to Rs.10 for every cylinder delivered, the delivery boys now demand Rs.20 to Rs.50, threatening not to deliver the next cylinder if unpaid.
Delivery agents are apparently peeved at the Aadhaar-LPG linkage, as it ate into revenues – first by reducing the number of deliveries, then by leaving them no scope of selling the cylinders for higher prices in the black market.
Attempts to exert pressure on the dealers having failed, the boys have resorted to demanding higher amounts from consumers.
“While everywhere unions are formed to bargain with employers, here, the delivery boys are threatening consumers in the name of unions. Fights with the boys have become a monthly affair, as they have been demanding Rs.30 per cylinder,” complained Prasad, a Kothapet resident.
However, no delivery agent follows the mandatory stipulation of weighing the cylinder at the time of delivery as per the Supreme Court directive, he says.
While city consumers have the choice of refusing to pay, and yet getting the cylinder delivered, those in the rural areas have no such option, as the gas agencies are usually located very far away. “We usually pay Rs.35 over and above the cylinder cost, which is entirely pocketed by the delivery boys. Though the cylinder cost only Rs.1024 in the city, we were told it cost Rs.1096, and charged Rs.1130 last time we took the delivery. Everybody here paid the same amount, and no receipt is given to anybody,” informed Ch.Saraswathi, a housewife from Ibrahimpatnam and a consumer of Indane gas from Vanasthalipuram. However, officials inform that the agencies are entitled to charge Rs.25 more per cylinder for deliveries to areas beyond a 30-kilometre radius. “Demand for cylinders is less in rural areas, hence fewer cylinders transported in each trip when compared with the city,” a Civil Supplies official says, conceding that it is used as a pretext for overcharging by the delivery boys.