Distributors fear pressure from customers; no impact so far, says IOC officer

The ongoing strike by bulk LPG transporters since the midnight of January 12 could trigger a chain reaction and cause delays in supply of cooking gas refills to households if the problem was not resolved quickly, distributors in the city fear.

Bulk LPG transport operators are on strike to press for their demands, including finalisation of the new transportation tender for south India at the earliest. According to sources, transport of LPG in bullet tankers from Mangalore to the city has been affected.

A section of distributors in the city fear that the strike could trigger a chain reaction and cause delay in supply of refills to household on account of backlog.

Indian Oil Corporation, with about three lakh connections is the major supplier, apart from BPCL and HPCL.

A senior officer of IOC maintained that the strike has had no impact in Tiruchi so far and bottling was going on with available stocks.

The IOC's bottling plant at Inamkulathur on the outskirts of the city is one of the major bottling plants supplying to the area.

On an average the plant receives about 15 bullet tankers of about 18 tonnes capacity a day.

The average daily output from the unit is about 70 truck loads of LPG cylinders. The sources indicated that supplies to distributors have been maintained till Tuesday.

But with no immediate end to the strike in sight, distributors fear that problems could arise in the coming days.

“Most distributors normally have stocks (of cylinders) for about two days and once our stocks are exhausted we will have to suspend supply to domestic consumers. It is going to be very difficult for the consumers if the strike continues,” observed a city distributor, who did not want to be identified.

Even if the strike is withdrawn immediately, it would take some time to clear the backlog, said another distributor. Even before the strike, the time taken between two LPG domestic refills supplies was 30 to 40 days.

The strike could make it 45 to 50 days, he said. Distributors also fear that they would have to face immense pressure from customers on account of the backlog.

Keywords: LPG refillsstrike