By Shafat Mir
Anantnag: The home delivery of LPG cylinders made mandatory by the government is observed in breach in many south Kashmir areas. The dealers have created their own rules to flout the official rules.
Parking a truck load of cylinders couple of times in a month in some spacious part of locality and making the consumers to wait in a line for their turn in harsh winters or hot summers is what these dealers refer to as home delivery. The gullible consumers are charged Rs 18 per cylinder for this service. However, during the working days, mostly womenfolk have to stand in queues to get the cooking gas cylinders.
As per the guidelines, the dealers are supposed to provide door to door delivery service within 48 hours of placing an order on call.
“I have to go on leave on a working day to fetch a cylinder. Apart from the billed amount, I have to pay Rs 100 extra to a load carrier for delivering the cylinder at my home. Despite living within the urban peripheries of Anantnag town, I don’t get the cylinder delivered at home,” said a consumer Aijaz Ahmed from Anantnag’s Iqbalabad locality.
A consumer, Mudasir Jeelani, who was initially declined the service by a local dealer in Anantnag, filed an online complaint on Hindustan Petroleum’s website. Consequently, he was provided the service free of cost.
Jeelani said that he had raised the issue with a dealer at Khanabal who flatly refused to deliver the LPG cylinder at home. “I lodged a complaint on the HP’s website. For a month there was no response but when I shot another mail with a warning that I would approach the consumer court, a delivery boy arrived at my home with the cylinder. Since then, I am booking the cylinder on call and it gets delivered within few hours only,” he said.
The gas dealers mostly operating from Pahalgam area including Gulshan Gas Agency and Pahalgam Gas Agency are indulging in illegal dumping of gas cylinders during odd hours and later on sell these cylinders in the black market with Rs 50 as extra charges.
“These dealers have created illegal sale centres in Srigufwara, Hatigam, Khiram and Mahend villages of Anantnag district, where they sell the cylinders on extra charges. Besides, the operators of these sale centres have held up the gas passbooks of the consumers forcing them to buy refilled cylinders from their outlets only,” said a local resident Suhail Ahmed.
Assistant director food, consumer affairs and public distribution Manzoor Ahmad said that distribution of gas cylinders was not under full control of his department. “I am writing a letter to all the dealers regarding these issues. The deputy commissioner would be requested to take appropriate action against dealers who flout the norms,” he said.