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Gas set to run out in two days

A shortage of gas cylinders faces the city as the ongoing strike of the Western India bulk LPG transporters association that began on Monday is beginning to bite.

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune |
February 12, 2009 12:59:23 am

Transport strike Oil firms say don’t panic,making plans

A shortage of gas cylinders faces the city as the ongoing strike of the Western India bulk LPG transporters association that began on Monday is beginning to bite. With the district supply department declaring that stocks will be available for only two more days,oil marketing companies (OMCs) are drawing out contingency plans to tackle the situation.

With the bulk tankers’ association going on strike from Monday evening,1,926 tankers have stayed off the roads affecting the supply of LPG cylinders to Maharashtra,Gujarat,Madhya Pradesh and Goa. Pune district,which has a demand of nearly 50,000 cylinders a day from OMCs,now has stocks for only two more days.

“The strike has affected the supply severely. We have stocks for two days and have also had talks with the OMCs to make alternative arrangements to meet the demand and supply in the city,” Pradeep Patil,district supply officer,said.

Patil has,however,urged the consumers not to go in for panic booking as the situation would then worsen.

OMCs are trying to address the situation in their own way. The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL),the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and the Indian Oil Company (IOC) are making sure that the district gets supply from their alternative sites.

BPCL territory manager J Vedagiri said that they have already made alternate arrangements from Uran and Mumbai to fill up empty cylinders. “It’s the bulk tankers that are on strike. We are sending the empty cylinders to the sites to fill them as part of contingency measures,” he said. Reiterating that the shortage can be adequately addressed with these steps,he said people should not go for panic booking.

The BPCL has an everyday supply of nearly 30,000 cylinders and Vedagiri has assured that even if the strike continues they would make sure that they would ensure that at least 60 per cent supply is met.

HPCL area sales manager DT Patil said the company has sufficient stock to meet the district demands; at the same time,they are making trying to get more stock from their sites at Hazarwadi in Sangli as well as Uran. HPCL supplies about 17,000 cylinders a day.

The IOCL has the least to worry as it supplies only about 2,500 cylinders in the district. Area manager LPG sales of IOCL Kusum Kulkarni said that the situation is comfortable at present,but depending on whether the strike continues for long,altarenative arrangements will have to be thought of. Even as the OMCs are making these arrangements,the bulk tankers’ association that has 296 representatives in the state is putting the onus of resolving issues squarely on the oil companies. President of the association Vinod Verma said that it is up to the OMCs to sort out the outstanding issues. “Tenders have to be floated with new rates. The companies have not agreed to our proposal. The stalemate will continue till this issue gets resolved,” he said.

Meanwhile,things do not appear too bright at the ground level. Manager Shamrao Tisgaonkar of Kiran gas agency in Lulla Nagar said that since today morning there has been no supply of cylinders.

“We have told the people to wait and can start deliveries only when the stock arrives,” he said. Arun Ugade of Natraj gas agency admitted that they already have an eight-day waiting period.

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