Manipur’s consumer affairs and public distribution minister Karam Shyam on Thursday accused Indian Oil Corporation of creating an artificial scarcity of LPG cylinders in the state.
“The government has initiated steps to monitor the functioning of the IOC in this regard,” he said, noting that while the monthly allotment of LPG cylinders to Manipur is 5,000 metric tonnes, the IOC has been bringing just 2,000 metric tonnes.
The Northeast state has 3,60,413 consumers and 88 distributors. Consumers have been complaining that they hardly get two cylinders in a year, and Shyam admitted that consumers are forced to buy cylinders from the black-market at Rs 1,800 each or more.
Officials said that those who cannot afford the exorbitant price are using firewood and charcoal.
Stressing that the consumer subsidy is also lost, Shyam said: “This is unacceptable and the government shall not remain silent.”
While police seized some cylinders which are on sale in black, sources say that black-marketers use a pipe to siphon almost half of the gas from a cylinder into an empty cylinder “to make two filled cylinders” as there is no system in Manipur to weigh the loaded cylinders which are suspected to be just half-filled.