Northeast facing acute cooking gas shortage

September 14th, 2012 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, Sep 14 (IANS) Northeast India is facing a severe shortage of cooking gas since April after production in four Indian Oil refineries in Assam was hit.

Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Manik Dey Friday said Indian Oil Chairman R.S. Butola has informed the state government that lower production of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), and law and order problem besides flood in Assam are the key reasons behind the crisis.

“There is no hope of an improvement in the situation in the next three-four months,” Dey told reporters.

According to the minister, the IOC is supposed to supply 202,878 LPG cylinders every month to Tripura while they are supplying a maximum of 150,000 to 154,530 cylinders.

“The situation (availability of LPG) in the other northeastern states is worse than Tripura,” he added.

According to an IOC official, on a monthly average, there is a drop in the supply of LPG cylinders to the seven northeastern states by more than 600,000 cylinders against the demand of around 2,000,000 cylinders.

“The major cause for the shortfall is the halt in production at the Numaligarh refinery, the biggest refinery in the region, following a blast at the plant site in Golaghat on April 7,” the official told IANS.

“The production has been further hit due to the repair works at Nunmati, Bongaigaon and Digboi refineries,” the official said.

Other regions of the country are also facing shortfall in cooking gas, according to the IOCL official.

“The situation could improve if the government decides to import LPG,” he added. The crisis, according to the Indian Oil officials, has worsened due to shortage of LPG in the international market too.

The official said that the IOCL has now been trying to acquire mounded bullets (refrigerated tankers used to store large volumes of LPG) from other parts of the country to ease the crisis in the northeastern states.

Food department officials of Tripura and Mizoram say that middlemen are taking advantage of the situation by charging consumers Rs.400-500 extra.

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