Indane the dinosaur

I received the following email from Indane (the cooking gas supply company of Indianoil, a Government agency)

Safety Instructions For LPG Customers:
Here are a few tips to use your LPG in the right and safe way:
1.Take delivery of Refill only after checking weight of the cylinder. Also check the valve or O-ring for leakage. 2.Put the Safety cap on valve if the cylinder is not in use.
3.Use Suraksha LPG hose of ISI mark.
4.Light ignition source before opening the burner.
5.Turn off regulator when not in use.
6.Don’t place the cylinder in water or in a horizantal position to increase evaporation.
7.Don’t keep refrigerator in Kitchen.
8.Always keep Emergency Service Cell number handy.

I was both amused and angry.
1. How on earth is the ordinary, fussed person-at-home (who might have taken off from the day job) or, in several instances, the domestic help, supposed to check the weight of the cylinder? Will the gas deliveryman (I have never seen women delivering gas cylinders) co-operate if this has to be done? And what if the weight is less than it should be? The deliveryman will just take away the cylinder, and the consumer has to go through the trauma of complaining to a non-receptive agency, and booking the cylinder once again.
2. In a busy household, this is just not possible.
3. Very often, cylinder deliverymen are happy to sign that the tube is in order in exchange for a little ‘transfer or resources” (a phrase I learnt from the proprietor of my gas agency).
4. I have a gas stove which will ignite only when the gas is flowing. How do I comply with this tip?
5. This one makes sense, and I do follow it…every night. It cannot be switched off all the time in a busy household.
6. Thank you for this information, Indane…I never knew this could be done!
7. What? Have you seen the size of some of our apartments? Where do you suggest we keep the fridge? Would it not make better sense to have the gas cylinder outside, connected through the wall via the tube?
8. Is Indane able to guarantee a 24X7 response, and let’s say there is a cylinder blast, how many people will remember this? Can it not be printed on every purchase voucher?

This brought to mind the several grouses I have against this organization.

After decades, Indane is still not able to make, or to sell a good gas guage that will tell consumers how much gas remains in the cylinder or a gadget that will shut off the valve in case of a leak (Several TV channels advertise such gadgets). I find their list of “safety measures” archaic. Nor have they devised a safe way for deliverymen to bring the gas cylinders up to apartments or homes, and its a common sight to see deliverymen rolling full and heavy cylinders along the ground.

Indane is one of the most customer-unfriendly organizations that I’ve had the misfortune to deal with, and they seem stuck in the we-are-doing-you-a-favour mode of the licence raj.

There used to be an option for the consumer to choose a different agency if the assigned one was not to the consumer’s liking. That option has been withdrawn. In addition, consumers are mandated to produce the “gas book” when receiving a cylinder, which means that apartment owners have to worry about this if they leave the cylinder with the security personnel at the gate, as also the theft of a gas cylinder.

Whatever the Supreme Court ruling, those entitled to it are not given the subsidy until they link their customer number with their Aadhar card. And even then, unless that link has been validated by the bank where they have an account, the subsidy will not be credited.

If consumers do not book a cylinder within 180 days of the last one, they are rewarded for their consuming less by having their account blocked, and they have to trudge back to the agency with a letter requesting that the account be released again (an email or telephone call will not do.)

Is this a safe way to transport full gas cylinders?

Why, in this day and age, do we have this terrible dinosaur of an organization? My own gas agent proprietor told me how helpless he was in trying to suggest improvements to Indianoil officials. How do we bring about this much-needed change?

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