Silchar: Pilfering of gas cylinders has been a common and widespread phenomenon across Barak Valley. The modus operandi has been very subtle and meticulously planned with the active involvement of all those connected with the bottling to the distribution stage. There have been several instances of police nabbing the culprits from various identified criminal zones, but the racket has been so well organized that it has been hard for the police to crack. The situation has changed for better with the coming to power of the NDA government at the Centre. The distribution of gas cylinders has been most scientific and the consumers have no difficulty in getting it when due. Middlemen and unscrupulous agents have been eliminated from any mischievous game.
But to say that everything has changed will be far-fetched. There are still gaps which are being exploited, though in a limited manner, by the anti-social elements. Recently a report from Karimganj says that 2 persons were arrested by police while pilfering gas from a loaded truck with LPG cylinders. After taking the cylinders from the truck, they were filling the empty cylinders kept in another truck. The incident took place past midnight of last Thursday at Lalpool under Nilambazaar police station. They have been identified as Zamil Hussain (44) of Lowarpara Nilambazaar and Abdul Karim (28) of Bilaipur, Lala Hailakandi.
It was a big success for police as there have been complaints from the consumers that they often receive LPG cylinders with less weight than prescribed. On being fed with specific information about some locations where pilfering takes place, the police has been keeping a close watch on the movement of trucks with loaded LPG cylinders. From the confessions made by the arrested persons, it was revealed that they used to open the seals of cylinders they get from the company. Then, they siphon off 2 to 5 kgs gas from each cylinder and refill it in empty cylinders.
After this hassle free operation far from the eyes of law, the empty cylinders now filled with gas are taken to prospective buyers on their list, as well as roadside grocery shop owners, tea vendors, hotels big and small. With this kind of shady business without any investment, the culprits admitted they make fast buck without much labour, but of course with application of mind in a wrong way. They have been outwitting police, but this time the police has outwitted them. From their possession were seized gas passing machine, bundle of cylinder caps and some other gadgets. Probe is on to find out the nexus and the reach of the racket in order to unravel the whole method and mode of operation, said a police officer.