If the recent 'know your customer' drive by petroleum companies left the aam admi across the country reeling under confusion and worry, for residents of Valpoi, Poriem and Sanquelim in Goa, getting a LPG cylinder is a constant hardship, with or without a drive.
For starters, though the customer base for Valpoi, Poriem and Sanquelim has increased today to around 18,000 from 13,663 in 2005, the distributor for Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) in Sanquelim claims he receives a shortfall of cylinders of approximately 18 loads every month. One load has around 300 cylinders.
Dilipbhai, in-charge of the agency, Damodar Mangalji Co Ltd, told TOI, "I have brought the shortfall to the notice of officials of HPCL at Kundaim several times. Since 2007, we have been sending letters asking for them to increase the load."
He claimed that in 2010, though 13,430 gas cylinders were the requirement of the area, HPCL supplied only 8,400, causing a shortfall of 5,030 cylinders.
HPCL regional manager A Jacob Brizen, when contacted said, "I will talk to the dealer in Sanquelim and will try to solve the problem. As soon as we receive any intimation, we take immediate steps to ensure smooth delivery of gas cylinders."
The shortfall aside, the petroleum ministry on August 17, 2009, announced a subsidy, aside from the regular one, on LPG cylinders to areas notified as rural and hilly. But customers from Valpoi, Poriem and Sanquelim have yet to receive this benefit.
Chandravati Avakhale of Sanquelim said, "We pay Rs 425 for a gas cylinder delivered at home in Sanquelim, but in Pissurlem, the cylinder is delivered at 440."
Sanjay Morajkar, an LPG dealer from Sanguem, a similarly interior taluka, but in South Goa, said, "We supply cylinders at 412.50 each, since our area is both, hilly and rural."
HPCL area manager at Kundaim, Arvind Singh told TOI, "Yes, there is a subsidy on gas cylinders given to areas notified as rural and hilly. The Goa government has to notify Valpoi, Poriem and Sanquelim as rural and hilly areas, only then can we extend the subsidy to the customers."
Sanquelim MLA Pramod Sawant said, "I will bring this issue to the notice of the chief minister and try to provide the subsidy meant for LPG customers in hilly and rural areas." [TOI]