From our Special Correspondent
IMPHAL, July 5: One LPG cylinder for domestic consumption is sold at Rs 1,200 in Manipur nowadays. Not unexpectedly, the consumers do not get their share of cylinder from the respective agents on various pretexts. If there is a general strike, landslide or some kind of obstruction along the two National highways, the price is skyrocketed up to Rs 2,500 per cylinder.
Long time back, the agents, corrupt police and civil officials had learnt the easy way, that it is profitable to sell cylinders in the blackmarket since all of them are getting their grease money to look the other way. This explains why the police are not raiding the shops and kiosks which sell the same at exorbitant prices. The civil officials in charge of distribution of cylinders, are also not seen anywhere. There is no authority to check the actual number of cylinders allotted to an agent and the number of cylinders distributed to the consumers.
Some weeks back, the Consumer Affairs, Public Distribution Minister, Moiranghtem Okendra had announced that he would introduce the home delivery system for the first time in Manipur. While many sections welcomed it, the learned sections were not amused since it was merely a pike dream. Not surprisingly, the minister has not been able to translate it into action.
This should be seen in the backdrop of reports in the past. Some civil officials had raided some petrol pumps to detect adulterated fuel. Nobody was pulled up and the campaign was called off in a huff. Recently there have also been disturbing reports about some petrol pumps selling water rather than petrol. The drivers had made an issue of it. However, some angry opposition members have pointed out in the Assembly that the government has not taken up any action against the erring petrol pump owners.
Minister Okendra is yet to come out with a statement why the LPG cylinders are now available only on the blackmarket. Firewood, which is the alternative arrangement for the poor sections of people have also become very costly and the persons with limited income cannot buy it. Now that there is no opposition worth the name in Manipur, political parties are not addressing these burning issues.