Helpless LPG consumers pay Rs.1, 800 per cylinder
The LPG crisis in Dimapur is getting worse. Consumers are facing immense problems and many have been running their kitchen without LPG for weeks. Some have been using alternate fuel like kerosene and fire wood, while many have opted for the induction cooker which runs on electricity.
“I bought a ‘Magic’ induction cooker for Rs.5000 last week in order to save gas,” Moa, a man living in Forest Colony said. Unable to afford a cylinder for Rs.1000 in the black market every month, he saved enough money and bought the induction cooker which he can use for many years.
The shortage has encouraged LPG black market significantly. The syndicate has expanded and genuine consumers are made to depend on it out of necessity. Sources informed that the black market is controlled mostly by Nagas and “miyas” act as the middlemen. A single LPG cylinder now costs anywhere between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,800 in the black market.
Further, sources informed that several “ladies” who are seen waiting in queues outside the LPG outlets are actually “aids of black marketers.” These women are paid about Rs.50 for each cylinder, it is learnt. Apart from this, most black marketers acquire cylinders holding several consumer gas cards under different names.
The gas agencies are also blamed for providing “quotas” to many consumers; some of whom indulge in black marketing. But when contacted, several gas agency managers vehemently denied the allegation. “In fact, we try to identify those people who repeatedly come with different gas cards and chase them away,” one agency manager stated firmly.
Shifting the blame on buyers, he added that consumers are indirectly promoting black marketing by buying the cylinders.
Sources in the Dimapur district administration informed that it is aware about the black marketing racket but it has not found “proof” against such perpetrators.
However, it has been conducting raids in hotels, eateries and private hostels and has made a few seizures. Several people have been penalized for the same.
The district administration has also had several meetings with officials of the Indian Oil Corporation bottling plant located at 7th Mile in Dimapur. “The black market business doesn’t affect shortage that much. The shortage is because of the problem at the Numaligarh Oil Refinery. Dimapur has not been getting the required quota,” an administrative official said. It is learnt that the Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur has written to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, North East in-charge, to take remedial measures and increase the state’s quota. “The matter will be taken up at the Central level,” the administrator said.
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