There are just too many loose ends to be swept under the carpet with some excuses or ‘explanations.’
The non-local names that one finds in the list of Tousem Indane Gramin Vitrak, an LPG distributor based at Tousem, may be explained on the ground that these people stay at Tousem on a temporary basis and have availed the gas connection from the said distributor.
This is however highly unlikely for some of the names mentioned are found to be actually staying at Imphal in some locality.
The question is, are these customers genuine, in the sense that do they avail the LPG supply from this distributor ?
Moreover how does one explain the fact that while these ‘customers’ have received as many as six refills this year, many of the customers with local names and staying at Tousem have received only one LPG refill this year, so far.
How does one explain this gross discrepancy or huge differences in the number of refills that customers have received ?
This is apart from the fact that there are instances when LPG loaded trucks are reported to have gone to some of the remote godowns in the hills, unload the same and return to Imphal the same day.
How is this possible ?
Juxtapose this query with the fact that in the recent shoot out between cadres of two underground outfits at Kasom Khullen, it took more than a day for the police team to reach Kasom Khullen from Ukhrul via Imphal.
Look at the condition of the road too.
It is ridiculous to hear that an LPG loaded truck can go all the way to a godown based at say, Pherzawl, unload the same there and return to Imphal the same day or the next day.
If transportation of goods can be so easily done, then the meaning of the word ‘remote places’ will be lost here.
It is also a known fact that many of the people in the hill districts are yet to get their Aadhar cards.
And moreover banking facilities at many of the hill areas can be said to be non-existent.
In effect this means that it becomes extremely difficult to say whether a customer is actually a native resident of the place from where the LPG distributor operates.
Moreover many households in the hill districts continue to rely on fire wood for their domestic cooking and other purposes.
It is also significant to note that ever since The Sangai Express started the campaign, ‘WANTED : Cooking Gas, Not Laughing Gas,” all the complaints or suggestions have come from consumers based in the valley while the LPG consumers in the hill districts have been quiet.
This could be an indicator on the demand of cooking gas in the hill districts, giving ample scope to some to take advantage of the situation and flood the LPG black market in the valley area.
Given the reality here, the task ahead IOC looks tough, and all the more reason why they need to re-evaluate the LPG distribution mode.
Diverting subsidised LPG to the black market just because there is not much of a demand for cooking gas in the hills is a distinct possibility and the whip needs to be cracked to see how this can be checked.
Source: The Sangai Express