Waiting for days to get delivery of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or cooking gas) cylinder may soon be a thing of the past. Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) is planning to roll out a Tatkal LPG Seva in a bid to ensure that consumers get cooking gas cylinder on the day it is booked.
“Every state/union territory should identify at least one prominent city/district were Tatkal LPG Seva can be rolled out for LPG SBC (single bottle cylinder) consumers in that area. Under this scheme, we will ensure delivery of LPG cylinder to our consumers within a span of 30/45 minutes from the time of booking,” a note from IOCL’s top management said.
The initiative, while still being finalised, is a part of IOCL’s efforts to improve its offering and improve the ‘ease of living’ in line with the motto set by the Centre.
“This service will act as a differentiator as compared to our competitors and will greatly enhance IOCL’s customer centric approach,” the note added.
According to officials in the know, the service is like to be soon rolled out and the initial target for it was as early as February 1. IndianOil markets its LPG cylinders through the Indane brand. It serves around 14 crore (of the total 28 crore) domestic LPG consumers in the country.
“The existing delivery network of dealers will be utilised for this tatkal scheme. Some finer details of the project are yet to be worked out such as a premium, if any, that will be charged from consumers for this single day delivery service,” the official added.
SBC or single bottle cylinder consumers just have one LPG cylinder and face the most challenge when it runs out. The other category is of DBC or double bottle consumers, having two 14.2 kg domestic LPG cylinders that can be alternated when one runs out. According to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), the delay in delivery of cylinders is a significant challenge of their adoption as the primary means of cooking.
“It was observed that out of 3.662 million refills, 594,000 refills were delivered with a delay of more than 30 days. It was further observed that 1209 LPG distributors supplied more than 100 refills (ranging from 100 to 9154 refills) with a delay of more than 30 days to 500,000 beneficiaries. As majority of PMUY beneficiaries are having Single Bottle Cylinder (SBC), delayed delivery of refill is a deterrent to the main objective of the scheme of transferring the Below Poverty Line (BPL) households from unclean to clean fuel and may force PMUY beneficiaries to return to unclean fuel being used earlier,” the CAG report from December 2019 had said.
The scheme by IOCL is not completely new. in July 2010, the then Oil minister Murli Deora had launched a Preferred Time LPG Delivery Scheme. Under that scheme, a customer could demand for refills supply in between 7 AM to 9 PM. Charges under the scheme were ranging from ₹ 20 to ₹ 50 per deliveries. “In the beginning many customers started opting this, especially working couples. But the scheme did not take off because of lack of publicity,” an LPG dealer said.