Tribune News Service
Bathinda, November 18
With barely any check, the illegal sale of LPG cylinders continues unabated in the city. During a random visit to city markets, it was found that shopkeepers fill LPG procured from gas agencies in small cylinders of 8 kg, 4 kg and 2 kg. Later, they sell it at high rates ranging from Rs700 to Rs Rs1,100.
The practice of selling LPG in an illegal manner is going on right under the nose of the authorities.
During the visit, a Bathinda Tribune team found that transfer of LPG to small cylinders and its sale in the black market at exorbitant prices are going on conveniently without any fear of punitive action.
These small LPG cylinders are being filled and sold from shops near the Multania overbridge, Hazi Ratan Chowk, Qila Mubarak market and Guru Nanak Pura close to the grain market area in the city.
A cylinder of 8 kg contains 1 kg of LPG and it is available for Rs1,100. Similarly, a cylinder of 4 kg can be bought for Rs750. For extra filling, Rs80 is charged for 1 kg of LPG. Moreover, shopkeepers have even installed gas stove/burner on the top of small cylinders for the cooking purposes (Rs100 extra). According to the shopkeepers, a number of customers are visiting their shops to buy LPG cylinders on a daily basis. These are being sold like hot cakes in the city.
When asked is it legal to buy or sell cylinders without proper documentation, a shopkeeper said, “There is nothing to worry. Everybody is free to buy and start using cylinders as per their convenience. There is barely any check by the authorities on selling LPG cylinders.”
The president of a city-based NGO said, “Leave aside the legality part of selling or filling LPG cylinders, first of all, we need to worry about the safety of city residents as these shopkeepers do not have any expertise. While transferring the gas from one cylinder to another, the risk of a leakage, caching fire and even bursting of cylinders looms large. I am surprised as to why the authorities concerned did not take any action against them. Are the authorities simply waiting for some untoward incident before they could seal these shops? It is high time that higher officials wake up from their slumber and take necessary action before things goes out of control.”
When the matter was brought to the notice of the Department of Food Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs authorities, they showed complete ignorance over the illegal sale and filling of LPG cylinders in the city.
When contacted, District Food and Supplies Controller (DFSC) Atinder Kaur said, “We had conducted a checking at different places in the city along with gas agencies a few months ago. Thereafter, we got busy in the procurement (paddy) process. Now, we will again identify the places where these cylinders are being sold illegally. We will raid these places and take necessary punitive action against them.”
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