The alarming rise in the cases of black marketing of LPG cylinders in the past few months has shocked the Vadodara City Police and District Supply Officers.
Several cases of stealing of empty LPG cylinders,filling them illegally and then selling them in commercial markets by deliverymen and middlemen have been reported in Vadodara district and rural areas. The cases of black marketing cylinders have risen noticeably after the ONGC staff went on strike a month ago.
On Monday,Vadodara city Special Operation Group (SOG) nabbed a middleman and two deliverymen from Anuj gas agency at Fatehgunj for their involvement in black marketing of LPG cylinders.
However,police said they are yet to make any headway in the theft case in which empty LPG cylinders were stolen from apartments at Ellora Park and Gotri. Gorwa Police Inspector C P Chudasama is preparing a list of the deliverymen across the city.
Police Sub Inspector H M Alsika,SOG,said,Every day,the accused Jitendra Baria and Dilip Chauhan who were employed by Anuj Gas Agency used to sell two cylinders from the agency illegally to Ramu Ahir and collect Rs 500 from him.
Alsika said the gas cylinder for domestic purpose is sold around Rs 350,whereas its price for commercial purposes is Rs 700.
While police are keeping a tab on other gas agencies also,the matter is serious and district supply officials should also take immediate action, said Alsika.
Asha Shah,the Vadodara District Supply Officer,said,We have begun investigations into the theft of empty cylinders and their black marketing for commercial purpose in hotels,restaurants and tea stalls in rural and city areas.
She said similar incidents have been reported from other parts of the state also and the officials are keeping a tab on the records of 40 gas agencies.
Even transport agencies are given the contracts of carrying cylinders which is illegal, said Shah.
She said the department is keeping an eye on them also. We will get in touch with ONGC and IOC,if needed, she said.
When Newsline tried to contact Vadodara District Collector Vijay Nehra,he was not available for his comments on the issue.