LPG consumers hit hard by supply delay

Distributors acknowledge problem.

Chennai: More than a month after LPG bottling plants began normal production after last year’s flood, consumers are still complaining of a waiting period of 25-days or more before they receive cylinders from distributors.

Indane consumers are the worst hit as it being the market leader in Chennai, the pinch is felt by them the most.

“If not for the induction stove, we would have suffered as it wasn’t until 10 days after our cylinder ran out that the delivery boy brought home the replacement. It was around 27 days after I had booked for it,” said P. Vijayan, a resident of Nanganallur.

Ambujam*, a homemaker in K.K. Nagar told DC her local distributor placed the blame on IOC’s errant supply. “Whenever we ask, the distributor claims that the load is delayed. It has been 22 days now and we are yet to receive,” she said.

When DC contacted a few distributors, they acknowledged the problem. “It took a few days for water to recede from inside our office too. The supply shortage was severe after the flood.,” said a distributor at Virugambakkam.

“The supply has been restored to normal, but the backlog from the few days when it was affected is so huge that it still remains a problem,” said a distributor from Nanganallur.

Indane executives told DC that though the Manali bottling plant had resumed functioning, rectifying the damage to equipment took more time.

“Entire machinery submerged under flood and we are talking about electronic controls. Like a smartphone that stops working when it comes into contact with water, it is the same here too. We had to clear the pipelines off water deposits before we could start refuelling,” said an executive, preferring anonymity.

Besides, a labour strike around Pongal time also complicated the issue for Indane. “The union issue has been resolved, but it again caused further delay.

So, we are working extra shifts, including Sundays, to make up for lost time,” said an Indane executive. But where Indane lost, BPCL gained as the rival executives confirmed that they have had a 10-15 per cent increase in refill booking orders.

“We think that the situation is because Indane users may have borrowed Bharat Gas cylinders for urgent use leading to our customers booking more refills,” a BPCL executive said.

Indane executives maintained that the delayed supply problem is being addressed and that in two weeks’ time, they expect to clear the backlog.

*Name changed on request

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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