Filled LPG cylinders sold like potatoes in the black market.
This was CAF and PD Minister Karam Shyam while addressing a joint meeting of CAF and PD officials, police, IOC, journalists at the conference hall of the Old Secretariat on August 30 and explicit in his remark is the point that while filled LPG cylinders are not available with the authorised agencies, the same is available in plenty in the market, albeit the black market.
This is perhaps the first time that a CAF and PD Minister of Manipur has openly acknowledged that while filled LPG cylinders are not available with the agencies, the same can be had in the black market, of course at a price.
It was with a reason why The Sangai Express carried the sustained campaign under the caption, ‘Wanted : Cooking Gas, Not Laughing Gas’ for the non-availability of filled LPG cylinder with the gas agencies while the same was available easily at the black market and this made things look so comical that if the matter was not that serious, it would have elicited guffaws from all over.
This leaves open the question of from where those selling the cooking gas in the black market managed to lay their hands on the filled LPG cylinders while the genuine customers are left high and dry.
This is a question that has not been addressed to or answered satisfactorily and it is a little difficult to digest that the small time operators, such as those selling the cooking gas at road side shops or pan dukans, could have procured the filled cylinders that easily without some kind of a patronage.
This is where the Government and the IOC need to crack the whip and see if there is any nexus that need to be cracked.
As the CAF and PD Minister said, LPG shortage due to transport bottleneck and where there are any disturbances on the highway such as landslides or during times of economic blockades is understandable, but when LPG refills are available in plenty at the black market while the same is absent with the agencies, then something is obviously wrong.
This is where the IOC has a bounden duty to answer to the people, as the Minister put it.
The Government may also work out some sort of a mechanism to levy heavy fines on those found selling filled LPG cylinders in the black market.
This may not be the answer but it can certainly go some way in plugging the loopholes.
Another point which the Government may check and crack the whip is usage of domestic LPG gas in commercial ventures such as hotels and road side eateries.
Remember there was a time when a number of eating outlets at the Sangai Festival venue were found using the domestic LPG cylinders.
Sale of filled domestic LPG cylinders in the black market is obviously lucrative for the price is usually double the price of the highly subsidised cooking gas and while this may offer quick and easy means to earn for many, it cannot be the done thing, for in the process thousands of genuine consumers are being robbed of their quota of filled LPG cylinders.
A look at the gas news any day should also tell the story of how long people have to wait to get their refill.
Majority of the agencies are still distributing filled cylinder for those consumers who booked way back in April or May and remember this is already September.
Source: The Sangai Express