The most important component of the middle class kitchen, the ubiquitous LPG cylinder, remains as one of the most tampered object. It has been an open secret that cartels work across the cities of India in keeping the cylinders underweight thereby fleecing the customers. It has not only been the touts that have been the culprits but sitting in the comforts of ‘Fortune 500’, the Indian Oil Company was recently reported to have supplied cylinders below the stipulated weight. Before a consumer court slapped a minor fine of Rs 90,000 in 2005, the number of cylinders that IOC supplied into the market remained undefined and the profits made, unmeasured. To cull the menace, oil companies have recently decided to put a chip on every LPG cylinder to prevent tampering. Ironically, despite being the co-accused in the crime, the oil companies in India have decided to pass on the burden of almost Rs 970 crore to the consumers. That sum is estimated to work out to almost Rs 65 per cylinder that has been planned to be charged one time from the consumer.
There are questions related to possible damage to the chips during transportation that have remained unanswered. The main question, however, remains as to why the consumer should be made to pay for the crime that gets committed elsewhere?