Grievances pertaining to delay in supply of liquefied petroleum gas cylinders figured prominently at a meeting organised by the Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department at Sholinganallur on Saturday for cooking gas customers of Indane, Bharatgas and HP Gas.

The consumers complained that delivery boys demanded more money and while booking refills or seeking new connections they were harassed by the staff at the agencies.

The meeting, held at Sholinganallur town panchayat, began with residents complaining that the department had not given adequate publicity for the meeting.

The most common grievance put forth pertained to delay in accepting bookings by staff at the cooking gas agency, subscribers being forced to pay an additional Rs.25 allegedly by delivery boys.

Arvind Ramesh, chairman of the town panchayat, said residents of Sholinganallur were forced to depend on agencies as far as Velachery and even East Tambaram. But for pamphlets issued by the town panchayat through its staff and elected representatives, even the few dozen people who had come to submit their grievances would not have come. K. Balachandran, Commissioner, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, said that the customers need not pay anything over the stipulated amount.

He urged the customers to lodge complaints.

The government had enough powers to initiate action against erring LPG distributors, including cancellation of their agency. The staff at the cooking gas showroom had to be courteous to subscribers and only trained people should be appointed to handle calls, he added.

An official from Indian Oil Corporation said the agencies could not compel people procuring new connections to buy stove, pressure cooker or other utensils and gadgets from them.

The official said ideally, any LPG cylinder delivery agency should not have only 15,000 to 18,000 subscribers, but due to rapid growth of Sholinganallur and nearby areas in the past couple of areas, some agencies had the burden of catering to more than 35,000 subscribers.

Nearly 30 new agencies would be commissioned soon in south and north Chennai and its suburbs and also in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.