Special Correspondent

Production inadequate, shortfall tackled through imports

Overall there is no shortage of LPG

Backlog in supplies in some States

NEW DELHI: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora on Thursday said there was no overall shortage of cooking gas and steps were being taken to stop black marketing of LPG cylinders.

However, at present production of LPG was inadequate and the shortfall was being met through imports.

Supplies to distributors were being made by public sector oil sector marketing companies (OMCs) through indigenous production and imports “in accordance with the genuine demand of customers registered with LPG distributors,” Mr. Deora said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

The OMCs had reported a backlog in supplies in certain States owing to a reduction in supply of bulk LPG by Reliance Industries Limited and Essar Oil Limited in January 2008, delay in movement of bulk LPG by rail from Jamnagar to the northern region, delays in berthing of vessels at the Haldia port due to reduced draft, increased demand in the States as severe cold forced panic booking by customers and due to strikes by contract labourers.

The OMCs were asked to wipe out the backlog, operating bottling plants on holidays and during extended working hours.

Price difference

Mr. Deora said the possibility of black marketing of subsidised domestic LPG by some unscrupulous elements could not be ruled out due to the wide gap in the prices of domestic and commercial cylinders.

Pointing out that there was enough provision in the law to deal with hoarders and unscrupulous elements, he said the State governments had been alerted to take steps against black marketing.