Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court issued notices to the Union Petroleum Ministry and two public sector oil companies, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum, on Monday on a petition by a voluntary organisation praying for an inquiry into the artificial shortage of cooking gas in the Capital and the National Capital Region over the past few months.

Issuing notices, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Siddharth Mridul asked the respondents to file replies to the petition by July 19.

The petitioner, Rajkumar Kaushik, president of the Society for Voice of Human Rights and Justice, submitted that the LPG gas dealers in Delhi and NCR had created an artificial crisis of cooking fuel to make quick money at the cost of consumers.

He alleged that the dealers had written their own rules without any authority. They had fixed a time gap of a fortnight for booking the supply of the next gas cylinder to a consumer after the last delivery and took another 15 days to deliver it. The petroleum and gas supply public sector companies had issued no such instruction to their dealers, the petitioner claimed.

He submitted that gas cylinders were available on demand in the black market with a re-filled cylinder fetching a premium of Rs.100 to 200. The petitioner has made the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the petroleum and gas supply companies and two dealers respondents in the petition.

He also drew the Court’s attention to other lapses of dealers like not providing details of the stock position on the public notice board at their godowns, leaving the consumers in the dark about the actual supply position.

He urged the Court to issue directions to the Ministry and the supply companies to bring in transparency in their functioning.