Cooking gas consumers may soon be asked to shell out Rs 200 or so as a one-time charge for an untested anti-pilferage device that state-run oil marketing companies are procuring through a questionable deal.
The oil companies are in the process of procuring some 6.5 lakh units of the device — a one-way valve to be fitted on cylinders — from a Hyderabad-based firm and a Rudrapur-based valve-maker for Rs 198.90 and Rs 284.75 respectively. These will be used for a pilot project in UP’s Meerut town, the smallest cooking gas market in the country. The plan is to gradually fit this device on 15 crore cylinders in circulation.
Some oil company executives argued that the price of the device includes the R&D costs and will come down once economy of scale comes into play. But most others are sceptical. “How can I revise the price of cylinders of an existing consumer? We will have to bear the expenditure for something that we don’t know will work or not,” a senior executive said on condition of anonymity.
The device in question is supposed to prevent unscrupulous elements from siphoning off liquefied gas from cylinders and filling water to make up for the lost weight. The siphoned gas is used to fill empty cylinders that are sold to individuals or commercial establishments without an authorized connection. Even small cylinders used by street vendors are filled up this way.
Source: time of India