Agartala/Aizawl: Even as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) monitors the cooking gas situation in Tripura and Mizoram, the LPG crisis persists in the two north-eastern states, officials said on Saturday.
According to officials in the Tripura and Mizoram governments, technical, transport and workers-related problems have led to the crisis of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the two hill states.
The people of these north-eastern states are forced to buy a LPG cylinder for prices ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 against the official rate of around Rs 650, excluding subsidy.
A Tripura Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department official, on condition of anonymity, said that the PMO is monitoring the situation arising out of the LPG crisis.
“Due to short supply of LPG trucks by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) from Guwahati and technical and labour-related problems in Tripura’s only gas bottling plant at Bishalgarh (in western Tripura), production of LPG cylinders has come down drastically,” Tripura Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department Joint Director Dibyendu Chakraborty said.
He said that the Tripura government has asked the IOC to increase its supply to overcome the crisis of cooking gas.
“The IOC last month transported the LPG and other petroleum products from Guwahati to Tripura through Bangladesh, as the state’s lone national highway was badly damaged due to heavy rain,” the official said adding that the IOC is now looking to carry more LPG via Bangladesh.
To carry these products, the IOC, under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas of India, and the Roads & Highways Department of Bangladesh had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Dhaka on August 18.
The route via Bangladesh had saved time and cost in carrying petroleum products from Assam to Tripura as the existing over 400-km mountainous route requires many hours to carry these essential items.
Mizoram is also experiencing a similar situation as people are facing a harrowing time due to severe scarcity of cooking gas.
In view of the severe crisis since July, people are buying a cooking gas cylinder for Rs 3,000 from the black market.
“The scarcity of cooking gas further deteriorated after a transport contractor refused to carry LPG cylinders to Mizoram in view of the members of Young Mizo Association (YMA) launching a crackdown on drivers and their assistants for alleged tampering with LPG cylinders,” an official of Mizoram’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department said.
The YMA volunteers have seized over 600 cylinders tampered with during transportation.
According to the officials, the contractor’s bid for the IOC tender was too low and unviable, which prompted the drivers, who were poorly paid, to resort to tampering with cooking gas cylinders to get additional money.
Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs John Rotluangliana, however, said the scarcity will soon be over as the IOC has allowed coking gas distributors to hire trucks for transporting cylinders.