LPG goes costly, out of poor man’s reach

Kashmir Wire


The centre’s decision to pay subsidy on LPG directly to the consumers may have drastically checked the illegal connections and helped in eliminating the menace of corruption indulged allegedly by the oil companies in the country but in Kashmir, it has broken the back of the poor consumers in view of the frequent increase in the LPG.

“We used to get a gas cylinder at Rs.430 before (DBTL) direct benefit transfer of LPG  was introduced in the country by the BJP Government in 2014. Now the same gas cylinder costs Rs.860. We cannot spare so much money to get a cylinder and get the subsidy after waiting for months”, a host of consumers told Kashmir Wire.

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“I am a poor labour. I have one gas connection. I used to save the money to buy gas when it was given at Rs.430. Now it is being sold at Rs.860. I can’t afford to buy the cylinder now and get the so-called subsidy after months later”, Asif Iqbal from Chanapora area said.

He said it is a burden to buy LPG at “unaffordable”. Price and get the subsidy after months. “We don’t need the subsidy. We want the government to provide us LPG on lower rates and keep the subsidy itself”.

Iqbal said he has last time bought a cylinder six months before and the subsidy is yet to be received. Who can buy the cylinder again at such a huge cost and then wait endlessly for the subsidy? he asked.

Asked how he manages the affairs of his family in the absence of gas, he said he is toiling a lot. After a day’s labour he goes to the flood-ravaged residential areas and collect wood and later prepare food for the family.

His colleague, Feroz Ahmad from Kupwara, said he has not received subsidy ever since the practice was put in use by the government. We are five men from Kupwara and live together and prepare food for ourselves on “Choola” on a roadside as the house owner do not allow us to lit fire in the room in Rambagh area.

Riyaz Ahmad from downtown Srinagar alleged that the introduction of DBTL has given rise to a “novel” Way of corruption.

“Before the practice, we used to get the gas cylinder at our doorstep. Now we have to book the gas and deposit the cylinder before our turn comes. In the process, the dealer misplaces the cylinder and causes huge losses on the consumers. In this way he makes illegal money, Ahmad said.

“This is not the first and only case but my fellow consumers have also faced the similar problem and most of us have not been given the cylinders even after a lapse of five months. The police have been informed and investigations are going on”, he added.

He said in these hard winter days, we are without gas cylinders.

To a query, he said he has been using the cylinders of relatives and neighbours all these months to feed his family.

A glaring example of a failure of the authorities to arrest the “illegal” marketing of the gas was that the sub-dealers take huge sums from the people who get their lighting gas filled from the local dealers.

“Where from did they get so many cylinders and then make a hay while people are in need of gas cylinders and filling the lighting gas”, a government employee, Dawood Naik asked and said “it is going on without any  check as officers concerned are sitting in their cozy offices and do not move out to inquire about the problems being faced by the commoners.

He also complained that subsidy on LPG is not coming easily to the consumers. “sometimes, it is the delivery boy who forgets to inform his office (where he has delivered the cylinder). At times, it is the “system” (computer) which mostly gets stuck and the consumer suffer for want of subsidy, Dawood Naik added.

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