ANJU AGNIHOTRI CHABA
At least 87 lakh Indane connections have been disconnected by the Indian Oil Company (IOC) between April 2012 and August 2013. This has come into light through a Right to Information (RTI) application to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas pertaining to a LPG gas disconnection spree initiated by agencies/dealers on behalf of gas companies throughout India.
As per the reply, IOC has security deposit totalling
Rs 10,820 crores as on 31/3/2013 collected from consumers at the time of providing them connections.
The RTI was filed by Punjab-based Advocate-cum-RTI and social activist P C Sharma. While sharing the documents with media persons, Sharma revealed that the marketing division of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Limited had, in a letter dated August 21, admitted that 87,05,130 Indane connections were deactivated all over India. Sharma said a large number of such disconnections pertain to Punjab.
The RTI activitist had sought to know how many such connections were deactivated under the ‘Clause’ of care of (c/o), House of (h/o), Mother of (M/o) etc. In its reply, IOC has said that such connections were deactivated because these customers did not book LPG refill cylinders for over 180 days. IOC further admitted that the number of deactivations change each day.
Sharma had sent similar letters to other gas providers also but was awaiting their reply. Talking to The Indian Express Sharma said gas agencies are not entertaining any claims by consumers for refund of security deposits which the gas agencies have kept back under the shadow of the new laws of consumer address verification.