The tragic death of mother daughter duo in North East Delhi has once again raised the issue of sale of illegal small gas cylinders. There is an organised mafia that pilfer Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders by using crude equipment and is rampant in the National Capital.
The practice of transferring the highly inflammable gas from commercial cylinders or domestic cylinders to small but illegally made LPG cylinders is not only illegal is recipe for disaster. This illegal business took two lives while another one was injured and is battling for his life in hospital.
The areas such as Mukherjee Nagar, Gandhi Vihar, Vijay Nagar, Chattarpur Enclave, Sangam Vihar, New Ashok Nagar, Vikaspuri, Wazirabad, Dwarka, Khajuri several other areas across National Capital where office goers, migrants and students live, use such small LPG cylinders for domestic purpose.
The investigation by The Pioneer revealed these small cylinders are filled by shopkeepers at Rs 70-80 per kg. The cylinders refilling shops can be seen in residential areas across the city.
“The small cylinder weighs around 5kg and is sold in 'black' for Rs 850. There is a profit in this but there is also risk while filling small cylinders,” said a shopkeeper in Chattarpur Enclave Phase-II.
The irony is that these small cylinder filling shops don't even have a fire extinguisher and people can be seen smoking cigarettes near these shops inviting untoward incident anytime.
This is quite common a practice in every locality right under the nose of the authorities who are aware of refilling points; however, a concrete legal to stop the illegal transfer of LPG into small cylinders, is yet to be taken.
The LPG mafia use crude method to transfer highly inflammable gas from one cylinder to another. They just use a connector for the purpose. They also sell cylinders to hotels and restaurants which are supposed to be their regular clients.
Unauthorized domestic gas refilling units are operating across the city. Such refilling centers are prevalent in areas preferred mostly by the students and working professionals who belong to different states of India.
Arjun Sharma, an IAS aspirant who lives in Gandhi Vihar of North Delhi said he is using small cylinder for the last three years and get it refilled at nearby shops. He can find such gas refilling units in almost all corners of the area. “Undoubtedly there is risk to get it refilled without any protective appliances or technique but do we have any option,” he asked?
What is surprising that the civic agencies have turned a blind eye towards the problem and their missionary zeal went kaput when it came to enforce the law?
However, when asked, officials of the civic agencies turned down the claim, saying that the officials keep conducting checks in areas under its jurisdiction. “We cannot keep a vigil 24*7 but keep inspecting such violations time to time,” he added.