Friday, January 13, 2012

Kashmir Valley faces LPG crisis

After last week's snowfall, Kashmir valley is facing severe crisis of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and stock position claimed by the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has come under scanner.

A highly placed source in one of the companies said that both the companies are lying about the stock position to the Government with the result there is LPG crisis here with the closure of the highway.

Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), Qamar Ali Aknoon, has called a meeting of the Oil Companies and local administration officials tomorrow at Srinagar to deal with the crisis.

And the divisional administration has now put Tehsildar and SHO Pampore as the Nodal Officers at HPCL Plant Pampore and they will furnish daily reports about the dispatch of LPG cylinders to the Government.

The sources said that the Companies are supplying the LPG at the rate of one cylinder per LPG connection for 20 days. "This standard is valid for other cities where the temperature is higher but in Kashmir valley the LPG consumption is double as the temperatures are sub-zero", the sources added.

The LPG plant of the HPCL has the storage capacity of around one lakh cylinders for a population of over 60 lakh in Kashmir valley where the daily consumption is around 25, 000 LPG cylinders. And by this standard the stored LPG can't last for more than 4 days.

One of the IOC LPG dealers in Srinagar said that the IOC has no storage capacity here and the dealers are worst hit with the snowfall. "We are dependent on the highway for LPG supply but with the closure of highway there was LPG crisis", said the dealer. "My demand for LPG is 700 cylinders per day but I am getting only 150 LPG cylinders and over 500 consumers have to go back without getting LPG despite waiting in the queue for hours in sub-zero temperatures", he added.

One of the HPCL LPG dealers in Srinagar said that he is getting 300 cylinders per day from the HPCL plant Pampore these days when the demand is over 800 cylinders. He said that normally he gets 600 cylinders per day but after the closure of the highway he has got only 300 cylinders per day.

The sources in the HPCL said that the company usually distributes 45 truckloads of LPG daily that is around 13, 000 cylinders but for past 10 days only 10 truckloads of around 3000 cylinders are being distributed per day in the Valley.

The Sales Manager HPCL Haroon Hamid said that during January, the HPCL distributed 1.32 lakh cylinders among the consumers. He said that on an average the HPCL distributes over 10, 000 cylinders in the Valley but these days they have been distributing half of what the company normally distributes.

The HPCL Manager, however, said that additional supply of the LPG is on its way and by evening they are getting 17,000 cylinders of LPG through Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. He said that 11 day stock of LPG is on way and this will meet the growing demand of the LPG in the Valley.

Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon inspected the HPCL LPG plant at Pampore along with Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Baseer Ahmed Khan. He held a meeting with HPCL officials and directed them to ensure rational distribution of LPG throughout the Valley.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Director CAPD, Shafqat Iqbal, Assistant Commissioner Revenue, Pulwama, SDPO Pampore, SHO Pampore, Tehsildar Pampore, Sales Manager HPCL, Haroon Hamid, Plant Manager Farooq Ahmed, OSD with Divisional Commissioner Aamir Ali and other senior officers of HPCL.

The Divisional Commissioner said that 32 oil tankers, 35 LPG tankers, 21 trucks loaded with chicken, 30 with sheep, 33 trucks carrying rice of FCI and 40 trucks with vegetables crossed Jawahar Tunnel by morning today.

Divisional Commissioner has given instructions to all Deputy Commissioners to visit far flung areas of their districts in order to redress the grievances of the public and constitute market checking squads to prevent hoarding.

A squad headed by Additional Commissioner Kashmir Abdul Majid Mir also conducted market checking in Parimpora Mandi, Maharaj Bazaar, Amira Kadal, and Hari Singh High Street, Srinagar. He also directed DC Srinagar to keep a squad at Pantha Chowk to monitor the conditions of the chicken and sheep being imported into the Valley. Divisional Commissioner also directed Chief Engineer Beacon Brigadier TPS Rawat to visit Shaitani Nalla and ensure removal of road blockades due to avalanches.

Meanwhile, disciplinary action was initiated against 99 Government employees of Bone and Joint Hospital, Maternity Hospital Sanat Nagar, Offices of Chief Engineer R&B, PMGSY, Irrigation Flood Control, PHE, MD Forest Corporation and Pollution Control Board as they were found absent during the surprise checking of attendance in offices by the Additional Commissioner Kashmir.

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