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Frequent hartals contribute to backlog in distribution

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R.Ramabhadran Pillai

Chain of activities in the distribution process gets disrupted

KOCHI: Hartals disrupt not only public life but also the smooth operations of public and private sector companies. The petroleum companies are among the worst affected.

The chain of activities behind the LPG distribution gets disrupted on the hartal day. The petroleum companies fail to receive the truck loads coming from Mangalore.

Indian Oil Company receives about 16 metric tonnes of LPG, enough to fill more than 1,000 cylinders, every day. A single day’s disruption in the arrival would result in the backlog in the supply of so many cylinders.

Movement of the empty cylinders also gets affected. This compounds the problems in the distribution chain.

It will take two or three days to restore normalcy in the operations in the LPG network, once it is disrupted, according to a senior official of Indian Oil Company. Kerala has been facing hartals frequently in recent weeks. The compounded delay in the operations owing to the frequent hartals has caused much concern among the oil companies.

Exempt LPG carriers

The oil companies have requested the political parties and other organisations to exempt the LPG carriers from the hartal. If vehicles carrying milk could be exempted from hartals, why the LPG carriers are not exempted, asked a senior official of an oil company.

Even localised hartals do harm to the LPG movement, according to him. Then the LPG carriers reaching the borders fail to reach the destination.

The distribution of LPG had been going on smoothly during the past few months, according to the official. Though the prices of petroleum products had gone up, the quantum of the imported products has not been reduced. Nevertheless, there needed some sort of restrictions on the use of them, he said.

The subsidised commodities like rice and kerosene are available only in limited quantities, but there is no restriction on the quantity of petroleum products that an individual can get, he said.

Issues sorted out

The companies have been facing some problems from the distributors, but these are sorted out at the appropriate level, taking care that the inconvenience to the consumers is minimum. The consumers have been shifted to new distributors whenever serious issues have cropped up. Similar steps will be adopted in future too to ensure timely supply, according to officials.

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