Panic calls to cooking gas agencies have increased in the last couple of weeks with the consumers getting their liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) refill supplies after delays. The current backlog ranges between 5-10 days, which is much more than last month’s backlog of 4-8 days.
“The situation has been worsening since October last year; only consumers did not notice it. But between January and February, the delay has increased. While core city consumers are better off and get cylinders within 5-6 days, those on the outskirts get them in 10 days. In some rare cases, it even takes 15 days,” said a distributor, who did not want to be named.
Vatsala Kumar, a consumer, said she was worried about her refill supply. “I had waited for a week after the other cylinder got over to make the booking thinking that I would get the refill immediately since I needed to keep aside the required amount. Now I have an SMS saying four days to delivery. But it has been five days now. Hopefully, I will get it in a couple of days,” she said.
Oil industry sources said that the lack of supply of fresh stock of cylinders to the plants was the main reason for the delay. “The supplies have been stopped since October. Every month a certain number of cylinders have to get into the system so that older cylinders can be taken out for mandatory tests. Currently, a large portion of cylinders are being sent to consumers beyond the due date for such tests and they lead to leaks,” said a source in the know.
While admitting to backlog in supplies, official sources in Indian Oil Corporation said that it was limited to Chennai city and surroundings. “The rest of the State has not been affected. We are getting one lakh new cylinders in a week, which will ease the pressure.