Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, or cooking gas) cylinder delivery personnel are going the extra mile to keep kitchens running across the country. These men are the foot soldiers who ensure doorstep delivery of LPG cylinders as India enters the second half of its 40-day lockdown.
“There is a spurt in demand and so we do almost twice the number of trips in a day since the lockdown was announced,” Pradeep Kumar, an LPG delivery man at an Indane Gas agency in Noida, told BusinessLine.
“Now, though, the demand has considerably eased in my area. We keep the cylinders at the society gates or barricaded points to maintain social distancing,” he added.
There were some initial concerns about delivery delays. To regulate demand, oil marketing companies (OMCs) barred consumers from booking for refills within 15 days of previous purchase. The demand has now eased from urban centres.
The current focus of OMCs is to deliver the free cylinders offered to Ujjwala consumers under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
OMCs boost operations
“While the initial demand for refills from Ujjwala consumers was not much, with three free refills being offered now, the demand may go up. To meet this, distributors are boosting their manpower and delivery infrastructure,” said Pawan Kumar, Regional LPG Manager – North, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
“The first priority for us is to ensure that the delivery personnel do not become carriers of the disease. We are providing them with safety kits which include masks, sanitisers and gloves. The cylinders are sanitised at the bottling plant itself. At the distributor end, these cylinders are treated with a solution of sodium hypochlorite,” Kumar said.