AIZAWL, Oct 21 - A number of families in Aizawl have resorted to kerosene stove for cooking meal as the prevailing LPG shortage has gone from bad to worse.
�A few weeks back, we could find a LPG cylinder at Rs 2,500 in the black market. Now, we cannot find it even if we are willing to pay Rs 3,000 for a cylinder. We have resorted to kerosene stove and electric heater for cooking. Even kerosene is not abundant in the market,� said Zami, a resident here.
The supply shortage started in July following the truck drivers� refusal to carry LPG, demanding a raise in their pay which the carrying contractors were unable to fulfill. The demand for raise followed the Young Mizo Association�s (YMA) crackdown on tampering of cylinders allegedly by the truck drivers.
�By tampering, some truck drivers earned extra money. Once the source of their extra money was stopped, they demanded a raise in their pay,� a YMA leader said.
According to the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs department records, supply drastically fell from 1,36,374 cylinders in June to 93,316 in July. The State can manage with about 1,20,000 cylinders a month. �We received only 93,316 in July, 26,684 short of our minimum requirement.
The shortage is said to be worse in the first half of October. So far in October, 46,818 cylinders have arrived. �The gas supply got better during the last few days, and if it continues we may see normal supply by next month,� the official said.
The Young Mizo Association said it would continue to check gas tampering. YMA volunteers have been maintaining surveillance on the NH between Aizawl and Mualkhang where truck drivers allegedly tamper with the cylinders.
�Before we launched the crackdown, gas tampering was so rampant that most of the gas-filled cylinders were underweight. Many families have complained that a cylinder of gas that used to last for about 30 days lasted only 15 days,� he said.
Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister John Rotluangliana has assured that the government has taken all-out efforts to solve the LPG crisis.
�The LPG crisis got worsened as the IOC did not allow ordinary trucks to carry cooking gas. The IOC has now issued license to the distributors to carry the gas,� he said.