GUWAHATI, May 3 � The Consumers Legal Protection Forum on Thursday submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro) seeking his intervention in the artificial cooking gas crisis.
The forum said that the present artificial shortage of LPG cylinders has created havoc in the city.
�The Gauhati High Court had asked State Govt. and IOCL to ensure that consumers are not inconvenienced because of non-availability of LPG cylinders to the extent possible after setting a minimum booking time of seven days and a supply time of 7 days,� said Ajoy Hazarika,a functionary of the forum.
It needs to be mentioned here that according to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Regulation of Supply and Distribution) Order, 2000, every consumer should get the refill cylinder at the doorstep within a stipulated time.
�However, both the directives have been openly violated. Now the situation has become so bad that consumers have been compelled to come out on the roads in protest against the artificial shortage of LPG cylinders,� said Hazarika alleging that most of the gas agencies were indulging in unethical practice thereby depriving the legitimate consumers of LPG. Things have come to such a stage that now it takes as long as 2/3 months for a consumer to get a LPG cylinder after booking it.
�This delay is the result of the malpractices on the part of gas agencies something evident from the flourishing black market of LPG cylinders. While cylinders are not delivered on time, these are available in the black market in double/triple the price,� said Hazarika.
Hazarika further said that the forum has been regularly getting complaints about diversion and sale of LPG cylinders in the black market by a section of distributors which has aggravated the artificial scarcity of cooking gas in the city.
Hazarika mentioned that the situation has worsened because of some factors like bogus connections against which some LPG distributors have been delivering cylinders and which were finding their way into the black market, loopholes in the monitoring system to check such malpractices, illegal hoarding of LPG cylinders and diversion of domestic LPG cylinders to commercial establishment etc.
The forum also alleged that the malpractices/black marketing is being carried out in cooperation with one section of corrupt employees of the Food & Civil Supplies Dept.