LPG cylinders in Kashmir are getting dearer than gold. Seventy-year-old Ghulam Mohammad who heads a family of 10 hit the streets of Srinagar for the fourth time in a week to collect new registration papers that would enable him to collect one of the six gas cylinders he is allotted, and is at his wits’ end for winter is approaching.
Fifty miles away, Anantnag resident Mushtaq Ahmad Wagay, a labourer, is equally perturbed. Registering and getting a gas cylinder is proving very tough. Gas is doing a vanishing act. Every morning, thousands of people queue up to get a cylinder. The issue has been taken up inside and outside the state assembly.
Many rallies have been taken out and some have become very ugly. In Sopore, 20 people were injured in police action when people protested against gas scarcity. “Diesel prices have risen, there is a cap on LPG cylinders. Poor people don’t have the means to cook food for their children,” PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said.
The government for its part is silent. Neither the consumer affairs minister, nor his directorate, or the IOC want to comment. Gas distributors in they valley say the problem will get worse in the winter. Some believe it might even aggravate into a law and order problem if a solution isn’t found soon.