Kashmir heading towards LPG crisis
Owing to the frequent highway closure due to snowfall followed by the lackadaisical approach of the administration, Kashmir valley is heading toward a severe shortage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Sources told Rising Kashmir that all the major LPG companies have a maximum stock of one to two days and if the supplies do not reach the Valley at the earliest, the distribution might come to an abrupt halt.
The three major companies that supply LPG in the Valley include Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
Sources said HPC that has a 70 percent market share usually keeps a month’s buffer stock while IOC and BPC that share the rest of the market keep 10 to 15 days of stock at their disposal.
“Almost all the companies are running out of the buffer stock. In December, we receive supplies hardly for two to three days. It is not enough to meet the requirements,” they said.
The biggest hurdle that the LPG supply in Kashmir is facing is that it still operates via traditional route of Patnitop on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
As per the government orders, due to the safety measures, no flammable items are allowed to pass through the newly-built Chenani Tunnel that bypasses Patnitop.
However, after the construction of Chenani Tunnel, this issue captures very little attention of the authorities when it comes to road blockade.
“The focus of the authorities largely remains on the newly-built tunnel after the road closure while the trucks carrying LPG supply remain stranded at Patnitop for days together,” the sources said.
In December, the Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for at least 12 days owing to the landslides and heavy snowfall.
An official said that moving of stranded Army vehicles and trucks with perishable items like fruits and vegetables remains the first priority of the administration as soon as the road opens.
“Thus, items like LPG get the last priority,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Director of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Bashir Khan said even though the supply was coming at a snail’s pace, there still was a stock for 12 days to meet the market demand.
“There is no need to panic. We are getting the supply consistently. Only today, we received 65 LPG trucks,” Khan said.
Khan said the department had already distributed 3.45 lakh cylinders in December.
“Our department is in touch with the Divisional Commissioner’s office, Traffic department and concerned Deputy Commissioners. So, there will be no shortage of supply,” Khan said.