IOC begins night shift in 2 Assam bottling plants for production ramp-up
Guwahati, April 12: Expecting a 70% hike in LPG demand in Assam in April due to the government’s policy to give three free cylinders to PMUY beneficiaries over a three- month period, Indian Oil Corp on Sunday said it has introduced night shift in two of its major bottling plants to “handle the additional load”.
The free cooking gas cylinders was part of the package announced by the finance minister to deal with the economic impact of the lockdown imposed to curb spread of coronavirus.
While the rise in demand has been estimated at 57 per cent across the country for the current month compared to March, it is pegged at 70 per cent for Assam and 45 per cent for the northeastern region, a senior official at the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas told PTI.
Priority is being given to LPG customers under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) since the government has decided to provide three 14.2-kg cylinders free of cost during April, May and June to the poor.
“However, we have the capacity to handle this additional load,” the official said.
With restaurants and eateries closed due to the lockdown, people are cooking and eating at home, substantially increasing the demand of domestic cylinders, though the demand in the commercial segment has gone down drastically, the official said.
Meanwhile, the company in a statement announced that it has ramped up bottling capacity in the northeastern region by starting night shift in two major LPG bottling plants in north Guwahati and Silchar.
“A third shift from 10 pm to 6 am has been introduced in two high capacity plants at north Guwahati and Silchar to further increase the availability of cooking LPG cylinders,” IOC chief general manager (IndianOil-AOD) G Ramesh said.
Earlier, the plants were functioning in two shifts, 6 am to 2 pm, and from 2 pm to 10 pm, he added.
“IndianOil is already working in overdrive to ensure supply to all customers.
“Due to the lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the consumption of domestic LPG has gone up in many places,” Ramesh said.
The daily production capacity of LPG in the entire northeastern region currently stands at 1,75,950 cylinders, while it is 1,53,000 units in Assam.
On reports that there was an LPG shortage in the region due to inadequate manpower at the bottling plants, the CGM clarified there was a “momentary hitch” in the delivery of cylinders, but it was sorted out immediately with the help of the police.
“Other than that, the LPG supply chain remains uninterrupted.
“It is expected that LPG availability will increase further with the night shift having started,” he added.
Earlier, the bottling capacities at north Guwahati and Sichar plants stood at 45,900 and 27,540 cylinders respectively.
After the ramp-up, north Guwahati plant is producing 64,260 units and Silchar plant is producing 45,900 units per day.
Ramesh requested the customers to book a cylinder only if it is absolutely necessary as the LPG delivery boys are risking their lives just to deliver cylinders to the customers.
“They are subjected to unnecessary exposure in case a customer books for a refill before it is actually required and is unable to return an empty cylinder when the delivery boy arrives at his doorstep,” he said. (PTI)