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Friday, November 16, 2012

Irate Consumers Ransack LPG Outlet, Set Furniture on Fire Following Illegal Claim of Money

Malda, November 15, 2012: An LPG distributor’s office was ransacked as the hundreds of consumers attacked it protesting the illegal claim of money for submitting the ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) forms. The adjacent shop was also ransacked, computer and furniture were broken and finally the office was set into fire. All this happened to LPG distributor Amit Gas Service office at Sarbamangala Pally under English Bazaar Police Station. Police force along with fire brigade rushed to control the situation.

It is learnt that following the Indian Oil’s directives regarding rationing LPG cylinders, a special drive has begun to identify the consumers. Number of DNSA (different name same address) cases were identified who were asked to submit KYC forms. Amit Gas, allegedly, asked all the consumers to submit their KYC afresh, even those who had submitted earlier. Worse, each of them was asked to pay Rs 150 with the forms. The consumers never got any proper justification for this money taken without receipt.

It was notified that today was the last date of submission of the forms. Accordingly, long queues were seen before the office since morning. There the resentment against this charge was brewing. Worse, the office opened at 2 pm. By then the consumers were at their tether’s end and when the office workers could not clarify why this money was being taken, angry mob attacked the office. The office was ransacked, workers were assaulted and some even set fire to the office. Later police came to control the mob.

On behalf of the angry consumers, Binoy Mandal said, “Amit Gas Agency has as many as 70000 consumers under them. But they never gave any receipt for this money and clarified why such huge money was charged.”

On this issue, Somesh Das, President of North Bengal LPG Distributors’ Association said, “It is true that today was the last date for submission of the KYC forms. But there was no provision of taking money.” “I personally think that that the last date of submitting KYC form would be extended as many consumers couldn’t submit the form by today amid the festivities,” Das added.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Senior Area Manager of Indian Oil Corporation too echoed his view, “We never charge any money for KYC forms and that too without receipt.”
Ashok Das, of Amit Gas Agency said, “On the occasion of Bhai Phonta, the office was to be opened at 2.00 pm and we gave the notice regarding it. Still consumers attacked the office and damaged it fully. We have lodged complaint to police and cannot open the office without security.” However, he avoided the issue of charging money, “I have to look into it.”

SP, Malda Jayanta Mandal said, “The situation is now under control. Police picket has been posted at the spot. No written complaint was lodged by anyone yet.”

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