Transparent LPG (or cooking gas) cylinders will soon become a reality in India and two pilot projects are already underway in the markets of Pune and Ahmedabad for launching these modern and customer friendly LPG cylinders.
Transparent LPG cylinders will help consumers, who are routinely frustrated at vendors delivering much less than the promised quantity of gas in the present steel cylindres. Despite instructions from oil companies to carry weighing scales to help consumers check the weight of cylinders, the delivery vendors are often seen either with a rigged spring balance or no weighing scale at all thereby raising more doubts of a lesser quantity delivered in a cylinder.
Even as the approximate cost of a composite cylinder is more than double that of a steel made cylinder, the government has initiated the move to check the growing pilferage in supply of underweight LPG cylinders to households.
For Indian consumers of LPG (cooking gas), even though the higher cost of the composite transparent cylinder (as against the present conventional steel cylinders) would mean that they may have to shell out an extra security deposit to their LPG distributors, consumers will be assured of the quantity of the LPG reaching them. This will also make it impossible for the distributors of LPG cylinders to deliver lower-than-promised quantity — one of the biggest complaints of LPG consumers in India.
2016 has been declared as the ‘Year of LPG Consumers’ and various measures are being initiated by petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan to provide this clean fuel to the entire population of India. The idea to introduce transparent cylinders is to bring a sense of accountability and transparency into the system and provide value for money to the consumers. The minister had recently assured that the government is working on the modalities for launching composite transparent cylinder but assured it would be a reality in FY 2016-17.
Sources said the composite transparent LPG cylinder will be made available within the current financial year 2016-17 itself and the Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) will be procuring these cylinders through competitive bids by floating Public Tender. “We expect large number of bids from various cylinder manufacturers…this will help in price discovery through competitive bidding,” said a senior oil company official.
“Efforts are being made to expedite launch of the pilot project, which is subject to successful supply of composite cylinders by the manufactures and getting statutory approvals,” Pradhan said.
A feasibility study on marketing of LPG in Composite cylinders by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) is already underway and a public tender has been invited for procurement of composite cylinders by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL). This pilot study will be done in two select markets of Ahmedabad and Pune.
“While the cost of procurement of composite transparent LPG cylinders is presently estimated at around Rs 2500-3000 (almost double the value of existing steel cylinders), the cost will go down subsequently as we move to bulk procurement of these cylinders…so for consumers it may initially mean slightly higher security deposit, which too may be shared by the oil companies.The details are being worked out in this respect,” the oil company official said.
Despite instructions being issued to all LPG distributors to check the weight of the cylinder at their godowns as also conduct checks before delivery to customers, there have been reports of underweight cylinders being supplied to consumers.
“We conduct sudden surprise random checks at the godowns of distributors to prevent any pilferages…further all the distributors are under instructions to provide portable weighing scales to all their delivery boys for checking weight of the cylinder at the time of delivery. Whenever customers receive underweight cylinder, the distributors are under instructions to replace the same with correct weight cylinders,” said a senior oil company official.
Alongside, the distributors have also been instructed to ensure that the seals are verified & shown to the customers at the time of delivery. Joint inspections/ raids are conducted álongwith State Civil Supplies Deptt to arrest the menace of pilferage of LPG and cases are filed by the District Administration against the culprits under various provisions of Essential Commodities Act and other relevant acts.
OMCs have also introduced Tamper Evident Seals on pan India basis from 01.04.2016 to prevent pilferage/supply of underweight cylinders. In all established cases of supply of underweight cylinders/ pilferage by distributors, action is initiated as per provisions of Marketing Discipline Guidelines/ Distributorship Agreement.
Currently, Writing a Book for Penguin India Titled Greased Pole:How Politics and Lobbying Stifled India's Energy Dreams. The author can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org (9810661825)
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