NH closure affects IOC gas supply in Valley

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Jan 29:   The intermittent closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to inclement weather has resulted in shortage of gas in Kashmir where power woes have already taken toll over the consumers. However, the Government denied any shortage of gas in the Valley.
Several LPG distributors who are linked with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), said that the repeated closure of the National Highway has resulted in shortage of the gas as the supply isn’t reaching into Valley on daily basis. They said that though Hindustan Petroleum Corporation is ‘managing’ its supply as it has its own plant in Pampore area of Pulwama district but IOC is facing ‘highest shortage’ as supplies come only from Jammu.
In Kashmir, the HP has 6.50 lakh consumers and the IOC has 1.30 lakh, according to official figures. However, the officials of both the companies deny that there is any shortage. The HP spokesman, Zubair Ahmad Banday, said that they have supplied 3.11 lakh LPG cylinders to consumers in January and “still have adequate stock in place”. “There is absolutely no shortage. In fact, the number compared to past January is much higher,” he added.
Similarly, a spokesman of the IOC also maintained that they have no shortage of LPGs but was quick to add that “they are seeking supplies from HP plant as per hospitality agreement”.
“In case we don’t receive supplies from outside, we approach HP as we have tie-up with them. We did same this time and received 10,000 cylinders. We are supplying LPG and there is no shortage. We understand there is panic among consumers but we do have stock,” he added.
The distributors attributed the ‘shortage’ to non-stocking of LPG in advance for winter. “Unlike past, the State Government conducted no meeting prior to the winter for stocking LPG. Earlier, such meetings used to take place and companies were directed to stock gas cylinders more than requirement. This is the reason for shortage but we have managed supplies so that common people don’t face any difficulty,” they added.
Due to inclement weather, thousands of trucks carrying essentials to Valley have been stranded on National Highway. According to a top State Government official, 200 trucks carrying LPG were stranded on the highway till yesterday. The problem according to distributors has further increased by the fact that the trucks carrying empty cylinders are also stranded on the National Highway.
Director of Department of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution, Tassaduq Jeelani, when contacted, told Excelsior that there is no shortage of LPG in Valley. “We have adequate stock of all essentials including food grains, kerosene oil, petrol and diesel as well as LPG in Valley. There is no need to panic and this is for the first time there is no shortage at all here,” he said, adding that even after distributing lakhs of gas cylinders in January there are 34,000 cylinders in stock.
“The stranded trucks carrying LPG are on way to Kashmir valley. There is no need to worry,” he added.