Kozhikode

Flood of complaints against LPG distribution agencies

No smooth ride: A vehicle transporting LPG cylinders in Kozhikode. Consumers are often unaware of the rules on the delivery of cylinders.

No smooth ride: A vehicle transporting LPG cylinders in Kozhikode. Consumers are often unaware of the rules on the delivery of cylinders.  

Oil companies, suppliers not service-oriented, say consumers

Rohit, a sales executive who is a permanent resident of the city, has been waiting for the delivery of refill LPG cylinder for almost a fortnight.

“I booked a refill cylinder over the phone on June 26. I received an SMS confirming the booking. Besides, it also mentioned that all booking till June 23 has been cleared. But I have not received the refill cylinder so far,” says Mr. Rohit, a consumer with the local gas agency of Hindustan Petroleum.

Rules say the refill should be delivered home within 48 hours of booking.

Every time he tries to contact the agency, Mr. Rohit gets a recorded message: “You have already booked in our system. The cylinder will be delivered shortly.

This has been going on for the past few days, he says.

‘Artificial scarcity’

Mr. Rohit’s is not an isolated experience. Consumers have been complaining over delay in getting LPG cylinders for long even though the public distribution system is strong in the State. “Maybe, the gas distributors are creating an artificial scarcity. Usually, the agency blames delays on lorry strike or loading issues,” he said.

Most consumers have a second cylinder which avoids disruption in cooking at homes.

“Otherwise, we would have to depend on the electric stove. That would would mean extra power consumption,” K. Rajeev, another consumer says.

Calls made to the gas distributors or the petroleum company officials usually yield no positive results. Some agencies either give the excuse of supply problems or man-power shortage to deliver the LPG cylinder, they say.

A senior HPCL executive said that a gas agency had been found with huge backlogs in refill cylinder supplies. “We are trying to settle the issue following the complaints,” he said.

Regulation

Unfortunately, LPG consumers are unaware of the rules on the delivery of LPG cylinders. The delivery of the gas is governed by the LPG (Regular Supply and Distribution Order) of 2000. It stipulates delivery of the cylinder at home and within 48 hours of booking. Further, the customer has the right to weigh the cylinder on taking delivery.

Except on public holidays and Sundays, gas agencies should be open for business between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. “However, gas agencies are taking the consumers for a ride even when people raise complaints. Besides, the response from the oil companies is poor,” Mr. Rajeev says.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 1:00:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/flood-of-complaints-against-lpg-distribution-agencies/article28336569.ece

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