Cooking gas distributors across the country have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from Tuesday to press for their multiple demands, which include withdrawal of the petroleum ministry’s recent marketing discipline guidelines.
The dealers are opposing the heavy financial penalties and distributorship termination clauses under the Marketing Discipline Guidelines (MDG), which, they say, makes the distributors unjustifiably responsible for all lapses in the system.
The Federation of LPG Distributors of India and the All India LPG Distributors Federation said the disciplinary measures were biased against the dealers and did not have any provisions to ensure compliance by the oil marketing companies (OMCs).
The proposed strike poses the prospect of a massive backlog of deliveries given that there are around 150 million cooking gas consumers in the country.
General Secretary of the Federation of LPG Distributors Pawan Soni said 13,000 distributors would stop delivering refills except to essential consumers like hospitals, and attend to only emergencies such as leakage.
The dealers are also demanding pilfer-proof seals on cylinders, a fool-proof delivery system that they say is currently non-existent, and the immediate cancellation of newly advertised distributorships.
OMC sources said the dealers’ protest against the MDGs was aimed at derailing efforts to improve consumer services and end the black marketing in subsidised cylinders.