With the oil marketing companies turning the heat on consumers having multiple domestic cooking gas connections, thousands of households in the city are discovering that refill cylinders cannot be booked unless they surrender the extra connections. “Refill supplies to all such connections have been stopped,” an Indane official says. This is the just one component of the exercise presumably aimed at equitable distribution of the 14.2 kg cylinders, each of which carry a subsidy of around Rs.340. Multiple connections under the ‘same name, same address’ category had been taken up now. If more than one connection, exists in the name of an individual at the same address, none are eligible for refills.
Customers who choose to retain a single cylinder connection will get to upgrade it to a double bottle connection, the official explains.
Since the entire customer database is now online and can be accessed on a real time basis, the companies generated a list of such connections and blocked them. Letters have been sent asking the customers to contact their distributors. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas’s ‘one household, one LPG connection’ campaign says it is illegal for a household to hold more than one connection.
“The oil marketing companies (IOC, BPC and HPC) are identifying consumers/households addresses with multiple connections within and across companies. These connections will be blocked till all multiple connections are surrendered.The customers would have to approach the distributor with his/her latest proof of identity and proof of address documents and any other documents prescribed. They have to submit the Know Your Customer (KYC) form for reactivation of one domestic connection,” according to the campaign.
The next phase pertains to the ‘different name, same address’ category. “We have started issuing letters, which include connections in the name of husband, wife or any other family member in the same address,” says a Bharat Gas official.
This part is bound to pose problems. Many houses have several portions in which different families reside. As the address is the same in most of these connections, customers are bound to be irritated when asked to explain their position. Agreeing that “there is some work to do and some struggle too,” the BPC official says the KYC details are similar to those sought by banks.
The companies are expected to shortly launch the next stage of the exercise to identify customers who hold connections of more than one company. If any multiple connections are detected after September 15, all connections would be liable for permanent disconnection and penal action under Essential Commodities Act, the campaign warns.
Keywords: LPG connections