BASIC NECESSITY: More trucks to end LPG shortage – Thank God & IOC for small mercies ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Kalimpong, Oct. 4: The Indian Oil Corporation has increased its fleet of trucks from 29 to 35 to ferry LPG cylinders to the hills, expecting to make up for the shortage of cooking gas that has been plaguing the hills for the past four months.
The shortage of supplies had been because of road breaches triggered by landslides.
“Trucks had to take a detour because of the road breaches, besides reducing the carrying capacity by more than 30 per cent (ferrying less cylinders than what they actually can),” said A.T. Roy, area manager, LPG division, IOC.
Roy told The Telegraph over the phone from Siliguri that the delay in increasing the fleet strength was because of procedural issues.
“With the increase in the fleet strength and improvement in road condition, the supply to the hills should stabilise soon,” he added.
Cooking gas consumers in the hills were forced to make alternative arrangement to keep the kitchen fire burning. The LPG scarcity — primarily because of bad roads — had been lingering for about four months.
A major breach at Paglajhora on NH55 that connects Siliguri with Darjeeling is yet to be repaired, forcing the trucks carrying LPG cylinders to take a detour via Mungpoo.
With the Dasain festivities only a couple of weeks away, many people were seriously thinking of cutting down on the number of food items in order to save on gas.
“I had to dust my old kerosene stove to minimise the usage of LPG cylinders,” said Binita Singh, a resident of East Main Road here.
Most consumers could refill their cylinders once every two months as opposed to the monthly refill before the shortage began.
“The crisis has been hurting us. With Dasain only a couple of weeks away, we either have to cut down on the food items or make arrangement for alternative cooking fire,” said Rajen Rai, another resident of Kalimpong.
The situation is no better in Darjeeling and Kurseong. “Yes, we, too, are being able to get the LPG cylinders refilled once in two months. In fact, we had to get a filled cylinder from our brother in Siliguri to keep the kitchen fire burning,” said Bishal Lama, a resident of Dow Hill in Kurseong.
In places like Dow Hill, which are away from the town, the cylinders are not home-delivered and the consumers have to cough up the extra carriage charge. “We have to hire a porter to carry the cylinder to our homes from the delivery point in the area. The carriage charge is Rs 70 per cylinder,” said Lama.