The Union petroleum ministry is all set to form stern rules against irregular delivery of cooking gas cylinders. Consumers are supposed to get gas cylinders delivered within 48 hours of booking but it is often noticed that dealers fail to deliver for several days and sometimes weeks. The Centre is likely to impose penalty of up to Rs 1.5 lakh to these errant gas dealers.
Sources at the ministry also said that it is not only delayed delivery that would be looked into. Other frequent complaints by consumers regarding demanding of money by deliverymen, whether LPG cylinders are being delivered after weighing or not would also be kept a tab on. Consumers’ feedback are being taken in these regards. If it is observed that there are too many complaints on these issues from consumers, dealers will have to bear the brunt. Consumers are now waiting to see how much of these planned actions are actually materialised at the grassroot level.
The nationalised petroleum companies have a system of rating LPG dealers. Those who are able to deliver within 48 hours of booking, get a five-star rating and with delay the rating decreases. Dealers getting one and two star ratings are considered to be below expectation. If the rating is below expectation for six months in a year, oil companies will impose a penalty of Rs 1.5 lakh on those dealers.
Sources said that although dealers outside West Bengal have been fined but no one in Bengal had to face any such action so far. Recently an SMS service has been introduced while booking and tracking LPG cylinders and now on that number itself the rating facility will begin where consumers will be asked four questions – If the seal of the new cylinder is intact, if the delivery man has ensured weight of the cylinder, if the price charged is the same as that on the receipt and a rating for the LPG dealer.
“The survey is basically to find out whether the services which consumers are entitled to get are being given. It will not only create an awareness among consumers and but will also punish errant dealers,” said a senior official of Indian Oil.
Bengal-based dealers, however are naturally not very happy about it and are mulling taking legal action against the decision of penalty imposed on them.