LPG management and supply: Give tryst a chance

Lt Col Aribam Bhogendra Sharma (Retd)
1. General : Before touching down on the main subject of today’s edition, I extend my innocuous apology to dear readers for not keeping up to my promised monthly appearance on this Newspaper. Availability of space and other allied complications coupled with communication gap beyond my visionary borders, was the Achilles Heels. Now, I will be back on quarterly basis surely.
2. LGP (Cooking gas) Management and supply: The present grievous outlook on the prevailing situation on management of domestic LPG supplies to consumers needs immediate relook. Though not amounting to trigger a quick overhaul of the system ,the suffering by general public is of a paramount concern calling for an immediate turn round with a paradigm shift. The Gas Agencies are servers to general public for their well being and not the masters. The consumers are generally in pitiable role of begging with the bowls in their hands.
3. Roti(Food/Meals), Kapada (Clothing), Makaan (Shelter): This phrase, in order of priorities,roti (meals) is the most valuable ingredient for modern living. It involves cooked meals which needs cooking gas (olden days fire wood). The situation has become more precarious after the Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana under which 7 crores 40 lakhs free connections have been given throughout India to the poor and deprived families. Now the consumers have to beg, borrow and steal to please the Gas Agencies to enable their daily ends met. This is like putting salt to the wound. The availability and replenishment of gas cylinders has become so systemic demanding call attention of Govt authority to rehash the entire chain of gas supply organization and its functioning.
4. Entitlement of Cylinders and Supply: As you are aware, total authorization of LPG cylinders per consumer is 12 nos per annum to ensure efficient supply to consumer as authorized, the Govt authority has notified a star grading system on the suppliers as follows:
a. Refilled cylinders supplied within two days of booking-5*
b. Refilled cylinders supplied within 4 days of booking-4*
c. Refilled cylinders supplied within 6 days of booking-3*
d. Refilled cylinders supplied within 8 days of booking-2*
e. Refilled cylinders supplied beyond 8 days-the license of the Agency can be cancelled and service terminated.
5. Allied Services/Facilities/Equipment: To galvanized and boost the effective service system, the Agency must have the following support system equipment:
a. Transport vehicles: For collection of refilled cylinders from refilling point, numbers and size as required.
b. Transport for Delivery of Cylinders at Home: The size/type of vehicles based on area of responsibility and accessibility like–road, bridges etc.
c. Weighing Machine: As per rule, delivery vehicles shall carry/possess weighing machine to weigh the cylinders in front of the consumers on delivery, if so desired.
6. Insurance Cover: Many of us do not know that every consumer has insurance cover of Rs 40 lakh by the Gas Company/Agency in case of mishaps due to faulty equipment not due to carelessness and mishandling. Therefore, all equipment and accessories like pipe etc should be of the company make and not procured from somewhere else.
7. Delineation/Delimitation of Area: The area of responsibility of the Gas Agencies should always be delineated, if possible with recognizable landmark on ground with fixed contours so that number of consumers do not exceed the capability of the Agency. The area should be close enough to the location of the agency. The size of area of responsibility will depend on the capacity of the Refilling Point eg Supply of 100 cylinders per day means 3000 consumers thereby, dictating the area and its size.
8. Delivery of Cylinders: All consumers, infact, to compel/force the agencies on home delivery only as a routine replenishment order. Reasons to avoid home delivery, at times, could be in rarest of the rare and consumers should not easily be stoical.
9. Refilled Cylinder Replenishment, normally takes many more days than required in Manipur and its collection dates published in local newspaper is a proof. Honestly to improve the supply timeline efficiency, based on star grading the Authority should accordingly increase number of agencies manifold and help in eradication of corruption.
10. Action Plans for Improvement: There is a need to achieve more conducive functionary understanding meaning more interdependent understanding between refillers, consumers and Agencies. This is more compulsively applicable in the present state of hyper competitive scenario. The tendency of remaining subservient, not to the meaning in real sense, but a goodie goodie is an Evil. We being a democratic and emphatic in social structure ,should exorcise the Evil. Remind you again that it can happen only if we decide give tryst a chance. A litany “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” – John F Kennedy
11. I, sincerely, expect that the simmering discontent expressed does not go to cold storage. For easy accomplishment, the following action by NGOs/Association are on utmost priority:-
a. Find out total number of consumers of the Agency.
b. Check the delineation/delimitation of area. If not done religiously on ground.
c. No of single cylinder connection holders because they are the carefully concealed time bomb for corruption. All single cylinder connection holders be converted into double cylinder which will automatically lessen number of corruption /bribery cases. Any employee of gas agency found involved in this petty corruption/extortion should not be let go free. Criminal offence FIR initiated and lodged in police station.
d. Average number of refilled cylinders received per month. This will help determining the size of the area of responsibility of agency and support staff.
e. Total numbers of workers in the work force and support staff/equipment employed by the agency for efficient functioning.
f. Rehash of system by, supplementing/pruning of staff and equipment based on distribution/cylinders per day at home.
g. Payment for refilled cylinders, as far as possible, should be by debit/credit cards. No cash payment at all. Likewise, booking for cylinders also should be online authorized to the administrative HQ of the Gas Company.
12. No belligerent behavioural conduct by any worker during entire process of work neither with officials nor in public domain.
13. Every consumer must play a viable role in the system thick and thin to attain a sustainable standard. To move things reasonably well is not difficult as we normally visualized. Will give you a personal example below. During peak periods of the Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana few years back, giving gas connection to 7 and ½ crores of BPL and deprived families, free of cost. Quite a few of us in the colony couldn’t get refilled cylinders for more than 15 days. The agency’s office was full of women from village, waiting for documentation of gas connection. We visited the gas company HQ located at Chandigarh then, the ministerial office of the state to apprise them of the plight. He was convinced that something had to be done. After a week’s time a new license holder of Gas Agency was created and all colony residence /consumers of the same gas company were transferred en bloc to the new licensee. We were not even aware of the actions taken till we were informed telephonically of new consumer numbers by the new gas company. We were not even involved visiting old and new gas agencies for our documentations. They had done by themselves everything including transfer of all essential documents etc.
Conclusion: Extolment gives happiness/pleasure to both giver and receiver whereas, Denunciation gives everlasting glooms to both. The forced and hurried achievements do not last long whereas emphatic resolutions taken will normally remain for ever. The NGOs and welfare associations should be prepared to face the brunt of odds while undertaking this achievable but difficult task. As brought out in the earlier editions, NGOs/Associations should openly help and work shoulder to shoulder to accomplish.
In succinctness, everything is achievable with determined and sincere efforts with decency. Lastly but not the least, from the bottom of my heart urge responsible citizens to take part in this movement to make it a grand success and make future generation happy. The young generations of Manipur have full of aspirations to fulfil. The inclusive and stern administrative actions should be initiated against the deserving looters.
 (Views expressed are personal. The writer is reachable at +91 9780121552)