IMPHAL, Sep 28 (IANS): Manipur's Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Karam Shyam on Thursday accused Indian Oil Corporation of creating an artificial scarcity of LPG cylinders in the state.
"The government has initiated steps to monitor the functionings of the IOC in this regard," he said, noting that while the monthly allotment of LPG cylinders to Manipur is 5,000 metric tonnes, the IOC has been bringing just 2,000 metric tonnes.
The northeastern state has 3,60,413 consumers and 88 distributors. Consumers have been complaining that they get hardly two cylinders in a year, and Shyam admitted that consumers are forced to buy cylinders on the blackmarket at Rs 1,800 each or more.
Officials said that those who cannot afford this exorbitant prices are using firewood and charcoal.
Stressing that the consumer subsidy is also lost, Shyam said: "This is unacceptable and the government shall not remain silent."
While police seize some cylinders which are on sale in black, sources say that blackmarketers use a pipe to siphon almost half of the gas from a cylinder into an empty cylinder "to make two filled cylinders" as there is no system in Manipur to weigh the loaded cylinders which are suspected to be just half-filled.