Future shock

After cap on the supply of domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) refills, people in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to get another shock in the next few months. The government may stop distribution of Kerosene to the consumers having LPG connections. Officials said that state was resisting the directive of Union Petroleum Ministry, but if the seriousness of the ministry is any indicator then the state government will have limited choice. Like other states, Jammu and Kashmir will also crave for kerosene. The government, it has been reliably learnt, is resisting the directive but the supplies come from the union ministry and the state government can only request for continuation of the supplies at least till the winter ends. Kashmir is facing a severe winter and with the meteorological department having predicted more snow in the coming days, the directive will leave the consumers high and dry. A large chunk of the population in Jammu Kashmir especially in the rural areas is still dependent on kerosene. The directive, therefore, will subject them to inconvenience. The authorities have made it clear that they cannot resist the directive for long as other states have already implemented it. The direct transfer of subsidy scheme by government of India in the accounts of the consumers will only be possible if the directive is implemented. The consumption of kerosene goes up from October to April to fight the winter chill. There was a time when the government would supply firewood on ration cards to the people. In addition, every family would get sufficient quantity of charcoal. But the practice was abandoned long ago when the government opted for LPG. This led to increased power theft across the state causing extensive losses to the Power Development Department (PDD). With the intended cap on kerosene, the power thefts will register alarming increase and the government alone will be responsible for the consequences. The people are already on the streets to protest the directive. Recently protests were held at several villages in Pulwama, Rajouri and Kargil districts. There is public anger against the centre’s move on the LPG. The Oil Companies have expressed their helplessness in overruling the directions of the Union Ministry, for giving any concession to the consumers. The government has to opt for an alternative as soon as possible. In the midst of a severe winter, the government cannot withdraw the supplies.