Cooking Gas Shortage Fuels Public Anger

Cooking Gas Shortage Fuels Public Anger

11 October 2012
Rising Kashmir
Mir Liyaqut Ali

Srinagar: With people facing acute shortage of cooking gas in Valley, the government Thursday said it is hopeful that Government of India (GoI) will respond positively to State’s appeal to increase the cap on subsidized LPG cylinders keeping in view its tough geographical and topographical conditions. People in uptown and downtown areas of Srinagar and other parts of the Valley complained that they are facing acute shortage of cooking gas. “Government is making false promises that all is well and lakhs of LPG cylinders have been stocked in Valley,” said Masroor Ahmad of Rainawari, who waited for hours outside gas dealer’s office in Jawahar Nagar but had to return without getting LPG refill. Residents of Shalteng, Umarabad HMT took to roads to protest against the shortage of cooking gas. Raising anti-government slogans, large number of men and women blocked the highway for hours to protest shortage of cooking gas. “We are facing acute shortage of cooking gas. Government and CAPD department are only making hollow slogans. They paint a rosy picture about LPG stock available in the Valley but reality is totally different. It is the responsibility of government to provide cooking gas to people,” said a protestor Ali Mohammad. The protestors alleged that gas dealers are selling the gas in black market. “If government failed to provide cooking gas to people, then people in Valley would be forced to launch agitation against it”. Later, the protestors dispersed off peacefully. Meanwhile, Minster for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) Qamar Ali Aakhon told Rising Kashmir that government has sent a representation to GoI seeking increase in cap on subsidized LPG cylinders. “The Minister of State (MoS) CA&PD has already discussed the issue threadbare with the union minister recently,” he said. He said in the representation, government has told GoI that J&K has to confront hostile weather conditions during winter months. “GoI was yet to respond to the issue. We are expecting positive response from GoI regarding rise in LPG cap. However, it will take some time”. He said government was considerably reacting to people grievances and has asked LPG dealers to ensure hassle-free supply of cooking gas to the consumers across the State. In a related development, Akhoon convened a joint meeting of officers and representatives of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, (KTMF), Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and senior officers of Oil Companies functioning in the Valley today. The meeting discussed threadbare pros and cons of the new LPG policy which came into force from September 14 due to which people of the State were confronting lot of problems in getting cooking gas. Speaking on the occasion, Akhoon said the government has taken the issue seriously and holds frequent meetings at various levels to find out any solution. “The unblocking of genuine consumers has been started and accordingly the Oil Companies have restored distribution and supply of LPG in the City. HPL is distributing 18 truck- loads of gas in Srinagar daily while IOC and Bharat Petroleum Corporation are distributing 5 truck loads and 4 truck loads respectively in Srinagar daily. The process will remain in operation till October 17th in the first instance,” he said. The representatives of KTMF and KCCI suggested some remedial measures to ease the problems of the people. The minister assured the meeting that the suggestions and demands put forth by the representative shall be taken up with the higher authorities. Besides, Secretary CA&PD Muhammad Abbas Dar, Director CA&PD Mir Mushtaq Ahmad, Senior Sales Manager Oil Companies Haroon Hamid, Shakel Kalander from Civil Society, President KTF Jan Mohammad Koul, President KTUF Mohammad Sadiq Baqal, and journalist Imdad Saqi attended the meeting.