A well-meant pilot scheme for door-delivery of LPG cylinders in beleaguered Manipur has fallen through, thanks to acute shortage.
The system in vogue in the State has been for consumers to collect cylinders from gas agencies. A consumer can get up to two cylinders a year, and to meet further demand, he has to turn to roadside shops and kiosks, where a cylinder is sold for Rs 1,500 now.
Reacting to a public outcry, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister, Moirangthem Okendro, made an announcement last week, that on an experimental basis, LPG cylinders would be delivered at consumers’ houses. It evoked widespread appreciation, for a consumer had to spend more than two hours to collect a cylinder.
However, the department couldn’t implement the scheme because there is an acute shortage of LPG cylinders.
In the beginning, land-locked Manipur lifted LPG cylinders from Assam. Consumers were deprived of their supplies for long when landslides occurred along the highways, or when tribals along the highways imposed general strikes and blockades at will.
To overcome this, the Manipur government opened a gas bottling plant at Sekmai, approximately 30 km from here. However, in the absence of uninterrupted lifting of LPG from Assam for this plant, consumers have to depend on shops and kiosks where the price is Rs. 1,000 a cylinder in normal circumstances. Now, they have to pay Rs. 500 more, as Naga groups have called a general strike, demanding an “alternative arrangement” of administration for Nagas independent of Manipur, and as the Imphal-Jiribam National Highway is still impassable following multiple landslides.