State has around 10 lakh fake LPG connections, the third highest in the country; anomalies galore in DBTL scheme as racketeers make merry
FAKE CONNECTIONS BLOCKED
* Assam had 9,99,000 fake connections
BLACK MARKET PRICE
* An LPG cylinder in the black market costs anything between Rs 800 to Rs 1200.
WHO ARE IN ILLEGAL TRADE?
* Small shops nearby the distributors are reported to be trading in such illegally diverted LPG cylinders.
* India had 12.7 million multiple LPG connections as on March 1, 2015.
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 11: Despite introduction of the direct benefit transfer of LPG (DBTL) scheme - Pratyaksh Hanstantarit Labh (PAHAL) - for paying consumers subsidy on cooking gas (LPG) directly into their bank accounts, the black marketing of LPG cylinders continues to thrive in Assam.
However, the PAHAL scheme has brought an unintended benefit for some customers in the State.
Some of the customers who are not using their quota of 12 cylinders, are getting richer as “subsidies” of the LPG cylinders diverted to the black market are being deposited in their accounts without they even purchasing or booking a cylinder.
“The agency has to show a cylinder being issued against a customer. Now, if the cylinder is diverted to the black market, they still have to show that it was issued against a genuine customer. The cylinders (diverted to the black market) are showed being issued against those customers who do not consume their quota of 12 cylinders. However, the subsidy gets deposited in the account of the customer anyhow,” explained an IOC official.
Several customers, without wishing to be med, have stated that amounts of Rs 253 are getting deposited in their accounts though they have not booked or purchased a cylinder.
An LPG cylinder in the black market costs anything between Rs 800 to Rs 1200. Small shops nearby the distributors are reported to be trading in such illegally diverted LPG cylinders.
The PAHAL scheme aims to reduce diversion and elimite duplicate or bogus LPG connections.
Official sources said, India had 12.7 million “multiple LPG connections as on March 1, 2015”. While all of these connections have been blocked, 173,000 of these have been surrendered by consumers.
Uttar Pradesh had the highest at 1.8 million, followed by Maharashtra 1.3 million while Assam had 9,99,000 fake LPG connections that were blocked.
In Assam, IOC, the country’s largest fuel retailer, had blocked 9,76,566 fake connections while 4,421 had surrendered. Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPC) had blocked 14,164 fake connections during the last two months, while 114 had surrendered. Similarly, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation had blocked 8,337 connections and 73 had surrendered.
An IOC official stated that the possibility of malpractices or irregularities in subsidised domestic LPG cylinders by unscrupulous elements cannot be ruled out due to the lower retail price of subsidised LPG for domestic use as compared to the market price for commercial LPG.
Oil Marketing Companies carry out surprise inspections at distributors premises, conduct refill audits, surprise checks at customers premises, en-route checking of delivery vehicles etc, but still these drives have failed to root out the mece.