LPG theft in Goa adds to consumers' price rise woes

GOACAN to begin a statewide campaign on March 15, World Consumer Rights Day, to create awareness about this theft among consumers
COOKING UP A STORM: According to GOACAN, there is an increase in cases of LPG theft and refilling water in gas cylinders.
COOKING UP A STORM: According to GOACAN, there is an increase in cases of LPG theft and refilling water in gas cylinders.Photo: Gomantak Times

Every homemaker is well aware of the continuously rising prices of LPG in the state. As if that wasn't sufficient, another problem has surfaced – gas theft – and GOACAN is determined to take action.

GOACAN, also known as Goa Civic and Consumer Action Network, has expressed serious concerns regarding the rise in incidents of LPG theft and the illegal practice of refilling water in gas cylinders.

In response, it has decided to initiate a campaign across the entire state of Goa, starting from March 15, which coincides with World Consumer Rights Day, to expose, educate and inform consumers about this clandestine theft of gas.

COOKING UP A STORM: According to GOACAN, there is an increase in cases of LPG theft and refilling water in gas cylinders.
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Over the last two years years, there has been a consistent increase in the number of grievances from LPG customers who claim to have been receiving domestic cylinders that are lighter in weight than they should be.

Following this complaint, the Department of Legal Metrology conducted a series of raids across various locations in the State and confirmed this.

Over the last two years years, there has been a consistent increase in the number of grievances from LPG customers who claim to have been receiving domestic cylinders that are lighter in weight than they should be.

The method employed involves unloading a small number of domestic LPG cylinders from the vehicle. Afterwards, approximately 4 kg of LPG is extracted from the cylinder, and the seal is loosely reattached. Subsequently, the tampered cylinder is distributed to unsuspecting customers.
Following a string of raids conducted by the Department of Legal Metrology, it was discovered that the cylinders being delivered were underweight, indicating theft. In response, the individuals involved in the illegal operation came up with a plan to conceal the theft by refilling the cylinders with 4 kg of water. This was done in order to avoid detection of any underweight cylinders.

COOKING UP A STORM: According to GOACAN, there is an increase in cases of LPG theft and refilling water in gas cylinders.
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The LPG that has been stolen is later transferred into 5 kg cylinders used for domestic purposes, and then sold to migrant workers and individuals renting apartments, who are typically weekend tourists.

The method being used, which involves stealing LPG from middle-class and lower-middle-class consumers, now poses a risk to fire safety.

The method being used, which involves stealing LPG from middle-class and lower-middle-class consumers, now poses a risk to fire safety.

A recent case detected in Panjim, involving a commercial cylinder, has shown the extent of the racket which has now affected the business community which owns small restaurants.

On receiving a complaint from a restauranteur in Panjim, who alleged that a commercial cylinder from Bharat Gas had a lot of water in it, GOACAN contacted the Department of Legal Metrology and the Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.

Accordingly on March 4, 2024, the cylinder was inspected, and subsequently seized and sealed.

COOKING UP A STORM: According to GOACAN, there is an increase in cases of LPG theft and refilling water in gas cylinders.
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The entire operation was carried out by the Legal Metrology Inspector, Satish Gawas; Civil Supplies Inspector, Tulshidas Dabholkar; and their respective teams under the supervision of LM Assistant Controller, DN Mapari; and Civil Supplies Deputy Director, Amit Sawant.

GOACAN has decided to take the awareness drive to the next level by involving village-based consumer forums and campus-based consumer welfare clubs as well as the amenities committee of all village panchayats.

GOACAN has decided to take the awareness drive to the next level by involving village-based consumer forums and campus-based consumer welfare clubs

GOACAN has also decided to organise stakeholder consultations with the Bar and Restaurant Owners' Association, GCCI Consumer Protection Committee and SHGs.

In addition, it will collaborate with the Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration, Controller Legal Metrology, Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Directorate of Transport, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Directorate of Fire and Emergency Services and Goa Police.

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