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Gas agencies take consumers for a ride

Applicants are forced to buy 'accessories' for getting new LPG connections.

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Food Distribution Officer (Pune district) has received over 100 applications from the residents of Pune Cantonment area complaining about the problems faced while applying for a new domestic LPG connection.

They alleged that the gas agencies based in Pune Cantonment, Koregaon Park and Dhole Patil Road areas refuse to give them new connection if they do not purchase other ‘accessories’ from these distribution outlets. With the FDO failing to take action on their complaints for over a month, citizens have approached local Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) unit to address their woes.

NCP vice-president (Pune Cantonment) Sanjay Kawade said, “I am personally looking into the citizens’ complaints.”

Speaking to DNA, businessman Ravindra Kamble and his wife said, “We were forced to buy products worth Rs1,835. They said that we will not get a new domestic connection if we do not buy these accessories.” The couple from Ghorpadi said that they were helpless and had to purchase several products from the gas agency.

Suraj Singhania of Camp said, “While applying for a new gas connection, I was given a bill showing an excess amount of Rs2,000. The gas agency informed me that as per a scheme I will getting the new LPG connection only if I purchase these by-products. I was given the same reply when I cross-checked with another gas agency.”

All India LPG Distributors Federation (Maharashtra) president Usha Poonawala said, “While applyling for a new domestic LPG connection, the consumer will have to take the gas cylinder, regulator and gas pipe. The gas stove is optional and the agency cannot compel the consumer to buy the cooking stove or other accessories.”

FDO Dhyanshewar Janwajar said, “I have informed the sales managers of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited , Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited etc. on Thursday about this issue. We will have an action plan soon.”

Arihant Gas Agency owner Bharat Jain said, “We only ask the consumers if they want to buy a lighter, safety pipe etc. We do not force them. Some groups with vested interests are trying to malign my image.”

Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat Pune district working president Suryakant Pathak said, “Citizens must ask the gas agents to give it in writing, and can approach the consumer forum.

@anujismail

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