Even as the standoff between bulk truck operators and public sector oil marketing companies continues over transportation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in south India, unscrupulous LPG distributors in Bangalore appear to be making a fast buck over shortage of LPG cylinders.

Making a fast buck

Lakshmi Chandru, a domestic help, said she had approached her LPG dealer in Banaswadi for a refill on Wednesday. He told her stocks were not available and promised to arrange one “with difficulty” if she coughed up Rs. 900. “I have only one cylinder and kerosene is expensive,” Ms. Chandru told The Hindu.

The prevailing price is Rs. 415 even though the delivery boys collect at least Rs. 430.

Responding to this allegation, an LPG dealer denied the involvement of dealers. “It could be the delivery boy,” he said. He said that dealers were getting only 25 per cent of their daily booking as the companies have diverted supply to other parts of the State severely affected by the strike.

Breakthrough soon?

Sources in the oil marketing companies told The Hindu the standoff between the Namakkal-based Southern Region Bulk LPG Transport Owners' Association and oil companies would end by Thursday.

The truckers went on strike on January 13.

The senior government official maintained that the issue was between the transporter and the truck operators over transportation charges and that the State would not intervene.

An LPG dealer said even if the standoff is resolved immediately, it will take at least a fortnight to restore normal supply of LPG cylinders in the city.