TODAY -

Coronavirus and lucrative business

Koijam Shiva Singh *

 LPG cylinders seized at Lamlong Keithel on April 22 2020
LPG cylinders seized at Lamlong Keithel on April 22 2020 :: Pix - TSE



Coronavirus pandemic has brought forth many undesired effects-changing life and activities throughout the globe affecting almost every individuals, be in health sector, education, economy, geopolitical arena to name a few, leaving behind scars that is going to take years to heal.

Almost all sections of society has been crippled by this curse on mankind in one way or the others and more so to the large chunks of common population who live hand to mouth leading to fear psychosis amongst themselves the question of survival of themselves, of their future generations leading to mental turmoil and restless minds.

In this critical juncture of emergency situation, it is really shocking to see and hear some handful of individuals or groups acting like scavenger taking undue advantage of the contagion, being accused of hoarding, black marketing, fixing prices of commodities as if they can dictate terms and conditions and no one is going to put a cap on their illegal and nefarious designs.

LPG cooking gas market is one such lucrative business area which if not controlled adequately and maintained accountability can hit hard the common masses which ultimately can affect the current lockdown in one way or the other.

One such ugly incident happened at Imphal LPG gas service located at Wahengbam Leikai, Imphal today 22/04/2020 when the owner announced that previous bookings of February and March would be null and void and that new booking started on April month will hold valid.

This irked the already strained customers waiting over long time to get their due share and what happened thereafter was chaos created by the owner.

Those agitated customers questioned the proprietor's modus operandi in situation like this when people are struggling for survival, waiting for long to get their bare minimum legitimate cooking gas refill.

What happened actually was burst out of dormant emotion being kept subdued among many customers by the owner over a period of time citing one or other reasons to deliberately postpone supply of LPG refills for motives people opined to leak through gray market for selfish gains.

It seems the real issue began some days back may be around 8th or 9th of April this year when people started making queue since early morning and had to went back disappointed by the announcement that no refill will be provided at last minute without prior notice on board or announcement when people started making ques.

This gentleman even claimed that by govt. order no refills will be provided until further notice by govt and that he received whatsapp message late night only and that he showed one torn piece of paper claiming the whatsapp message order by govt. That day, people went back helplessly even though some were angry, shouting.

Then on 10th of April when customer went to enquire about the refill, the gentleman announced that everything will be done online and to submit necessary documents. Two phone numbers were provided at notice board to give a call.

Then it seems all customers tried calling those numbers but unfortunately no response from his ends. This angered many customers who cannot pay visit to the office owing to travel restrictions, but they waited helplessly for relaxation in movement.

Then came the ultimate day when people would not hold their emotions any longer with the encounter of the owner of Imphal LPG Gas service, Wahengbam Leikai and his unruly, unprofessional attitude and announcement that all previous bookings have been cancelled and that booking done from April month will only be valid and that corresponding miss call he receive will be the basis for supply of LPG refill.

Huge chaos followed thereafter, police arrived and picked up the owner. Even then also, many customers stayed there to clear their doubts. Now the customers started asking all sort of questions like:

1. Will those customer who just recently got refilled and who somehow managed to give miss call to the number provided be given early chances leaving behind those who have book long back in early February because they came to know about the new rules much late due to restriction in free movement?

2. If the above statements of this LPG owner is true, then isn't it contradicts the statements of government both at Center and State to provide LPG to every household in times like this.

Who is the real hero, Hercules behind this heinous drama? Where does he garner all the courage and guts to announce something like this, can it be possible without the blessing of few or all powerful individuals or groups who are directly benefited by such decision of an individual like this proprietor?

These are all sorts of questions people are asking at that moment.

Now, last but not the least, people are expecting to rectify loopholes which lead to such unwanted incident like today in the future, otherwise it will contradicts the official announcements and stance at the one hand and real things happening on the ground.


* Koijam Shiva Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at shivak2011(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on April 24, 2020.



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