Distributors urged to ensure regular supply of cylinders
Member of Parliament Pralhad Joshi has promised to take up the issue of setting up a call centre for streamlining the process of booking an LPG cylinder.
He would talk to officials of oil companies about setting up a system along the lines of the call centres in metros, he said.
Mr. Joshi was speaking at a meeting of LPG distributors here on Thursday, convened in the wake of complaints about delays in the supply of cylinders. Distributors have been accused of demanding extra money to ensure early delivery, while there have also been complaints about the ‘restrictions' imposed by oil companies on the mandatory waiting period of 21 days.
The MP asked distributors to ensure regular supply of domestic LPG cylinders to consumers. He pointed out that the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora, in reply to Mr. Joshi's question in Parliament, had clarified that no restriction had been imposed by the Ministry.
He rejected the argument of some distributors that the waiting period would help prevent misuse of domestic LPG cylinders. He said, “95 per cent of the consumers should not be forced to face hardship because of 5 per cent of those indulging in unfair practices. There are other methods to identify and punish the offenders,” he said.
No short supply
Mr. Joshi conveyed to those at the meeting that officials of the oil companies had informed him there was no short supply of LPG cylinders in Dharwad district.
“However, if you can give me details on how much short supply there is, as against the demand, I will take up the issue with the authorities. I will request the Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad to convene a meeting of oil company officials within two or three days,” he said.
Replying to complaints that the staff at the distributors' offices did not take calls, distributors pointed out that because of the call waiting option, consumers could not be informed that the line was engaged. According to their suggestion, Mr. Joshi asked the Deputy General Manager of BSNL of Dharwad Telecom District not to provide the call waiting option, while also advising distributors to apply for additional telephone lines.
Mr. Joshi also promised to take up the issue of high tariff being charged for booking LPG cylinders through SMS with the authorities concerned.
Besides, it was not compulsory for those applying for new LPG connections to buy a gas stove at the distributor's shop itself.
The meeting was attended by Mayor Venkatesh Mestri, Deputy Mayor Bharati Patil and president of the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry M.C. Hiremath.
Later, speaking to presspersons, Mr. Joshi said complaints about the racket wherein domestic LPG cylinders were sold through agents at high prices in the twin cities would be brought to the notice of the authorities. Action would be taken against those involved, he promised.