Monday, April 27, 2009

GAS TRICK!

GAS TRICK!
LPG pilfering and reselling thrives in the congested localities of the city, frequent police raids notwithstanding. Not surprising, considering that the stolen gas costs autowallahs a good Rs 10 less than the official rate
DEBI PRASAD SARANGI & SAMEER RANJAN BAKSHI


Does your LPG cylinder get over, rather suspiciously, sooner than it should? Don’t blame your better half in a fit of self-righteous male indignation; it’s far more likely that the cylinder has been tampered with. Welcome to the parallel world of LPG “redistribution”, a racket that involves tapping a portion of a cylinder meant for domestic use and reselling it to a readymade clientele.
The pilfered gas is sold to autorickshaw drivers, hotels and caterers, among others. Needless to say, there is no dearth of takers as it costs just Rs 17 per litre — a steal compared to the current petrol bunk rate of Rs 27.70 per litre.
Bangalore Mirror decided to investigate the scam and visited the narrow lanes of BDA Colony in Austin Town several times searching for “ground gas” — as it is known in the black market. We had our task cut out, as Operation Pilferage is conducted with such secrecy that even next-door neighbours are none the wiser.
AUTOS LINE UP
On our first visit, we asked a young girl to point out the place where autorickshaws come for their “fill”. Her response was prompt, but unfortunately so obvious to onlookers that the auto drivers were alerted and vanished from the scene. Our next four attempts drew a blank, but we got lucky on our sixth try. We were led to an asbestosroofed shed in front of which around eight autorickshaws were lined up. The gas was being filled in each autorickshaw’s cylinder from a pipe coming out of the shed. We saw a woman lending a hand with the illegal operations.
Sources said everyday around 40 LPG cylinders are brought to the place by autos and cycles and are subsequently delivered to unsuspecting consumers after a part of the contents is siphoned off. Around 30-40 autorickshaws make a beeline daily to the place for the cheap refills, the sources said.
THE CULPRITS
LPG suppliers whom we spoke to squarely blamed their delivery boys for the underweight cylinders that are palmed off on domestic users. “The volume of this illegal business has grown since 2000, when autorickshaws began to switch over to LPG. Earlier, these delivery boys used to sell LPG cylinders meant for domestic use to hotels. What makes matters worse is that there is no proper mechanism to check the weight of LPG cylinders,” said an official of a private LPG company.
According to a Hindustan Petroleum dealer, every delivery boy should carry a portable weighing machine so that the consumer can weigh the cylinder at the time of delivery. “But till now we do not have such weighing machines, and moreover there are no proper guidelines from the government in this regard,” he said.
Frequent police raids had done little to curb the racket, which continues to thrive in the congested inner areas of the city. Speaking to this paper, Viveknagar police inspector Manjunath Babu said he had just taken charge but would look into the matter.
NOT NEARLY ENOUGH Feb 13, 2008
Central Crime Branch sleuths raided an illegal LPG refilling unit in Nayandahalli.Three people were arrested and 113 cylinders were seized.
Jan 4, 2008
Department of Food and Civil Supplies officials raided a house in Tippasandra and seized commercial LPG cylinders used for refilling.
March 2004
One person was arrested and two domestic LPG cylinders were seized by Central Crime Branch sleuths in a raid in Kambathalli.

1 Comments:

At Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 5:14:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger alok dixit said...

Very good investigative story

Sir I am a journalist too.
Plz contact me at writeralok@gmail.com

 

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