M. Muzafar Wani
Recently Legal Metrology Department seized 325 LPG Cylinders from Pulwama for being underweight. While the case stands registered against the persons responsible for this offence, it has been observed that the Consumers are highly unaware about their rights while purchasing and receiving the Gas Cylinders from the distributors. The Consumers not only possess the right to check the weight of the LPG cylinders being delivered to them but they can also check the date of expiry, leak detection and price before receiving them.There are apprehensions that Cylinders supplied by the distributor might be underweight because Consumers don’t check the weight of LPG Cylinders prior to the purchase and since they don’t have a weighing scale at home either, there is always a possibility of them being duped by the LPG agencies. The consumers might notice that the Gas is not lasting as long as it usually does and they may also endeavour to lodge a complaint in this regard but due to the lack of awareness they usually end up ignoring these shortfalls.
It is compulsory for every LPG delivery man to carry a certified weighing instrument and conduct the weight of each LPG Cylinder in presence of the Consumer which is being delivered to them. The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities/ Amendment) Rules, 2011, at Rule 18 (8) provides that “All the marketing companies, manufacturers, packers, importers or distributors of Liquefied Petroleum Gas cylinder shall maintain a check weigher or non-automatic weighing instrument, digital or analogue, of Accuracy class-III (Max. 50kg, e= 10g) to check the weight of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas cylinder andThe marketing companies, manufacturers, packers, importers or distributors referred to in shall provide to the delivery man to measure or weigh the correct quantity of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas cylinder.” So insist on the delivery man weighing your LPG cylinder at the time of delivery. That way, Consumer will make sure that the cylinder is not underweight. If the delivery man says that he does not have the weighing scale, complain to the Department of Legal Metrology, which is the enforcing authority. The contact details of every District Legal Metrology official are available on their website i.e., jklegalmetrology.com
Let us not forget that the delivery man of every Gas Agency himself has to bring the weighing scale and weigh the cylinder in presence of the Consumer. At the same time, we have to be smart enough to see whether this weighing scale has been verified by the Legal Metrology Department or Not. You have to ask for the certificate of this weighing scale issued by the Legal Metrology Department and if they fail to produce the certificate, the same weighing scale shown to you may have been manipulated in order to show you the wrong weight/reading of the Cylinders. The Consumer has to ensure that the weight has to be conducted in presence of the delivery man and if you find the Weight to be less than what is written on the Cylinder, note it on a sheet of paper, write the date and time and get the delivery man to sign it. You should sign it too and if necessary, you can even call one of your neighbours and ask that person to confirm the weight of the cylinder. The Net Weight and the Weight of the Empty Cylinder is always written on the Cylinder which you have to add up in order to calculate its Gross Weight. For instance if the Net Weight is written as 14.2 Kg and Gross Weight as 15.8, then the total (Gross) weight will be shown as 30 Kg. Anything shorter than that means that Cylinder is underweight and is an offence under the Legal Metrology Act 2009.The evidence collected by you will be of immense value for the department and will also help you in pursuing the case. Once you have this evidence in hand, your complaint will have more weight and neither the distributor nor the oil company can brush aside your complaint. You may straight away lodge the complaint with your District Legal Metrology Officer which is responsible for ensuring that only correct quantity is sold to the consumer. You have even every right to complain to the gas company and demand that they verify whether the shortfall happened at the filling plant or at the hands of distributor. If it has happened at the filling stage, they will have to withdraw all the cylinders from that particular batch. If not, they will have to investigate as to where the pilferage has occurred. They must let you know the details of their investigation and the steps taken by them to prevent recurrence. They must also tell you about the action taken by them against the persons responsible for delivering the underweight cylinder.
As a Consumer you have been accorded the right to insist for the home delivery of LPG Cylinder. The Cylinder must reach to your Door step without any ambiguous printed information on it. Never accept the apparent rotten Cylinder without any clear information being visible on it like the Date of expiry which is written on the neck of the Cylinder or the Weight which is written on the upper part of its body. Distributing and selling of LPG Cylinders without displaying the clear information on them is an offence under the Law. Ask for a clean Cylinder and insist for a cash memo against the payment you made along with the weight check and Leak detection test. Further the Consumer has to check the rate which is being fixed by the Oil Marketing Companies each month and if the price charged from the Consumer is higher than the prescribed rate, contact the Legal Metrology Officer of your area. The rate may slightly vary from one place to another depending upon the distance covered by the LPG Distributors.
(The author is Assistant Controller Legal Metrology Department J&K)
M. Muzafar Wani