State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) on Thursday said it has tied up additional LPG imports in April and May to ensure uninterrupted supplies of cooking gas during the nationwide lockdown to contain coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, IOC said it has tied up additional import "to the tune of about 50% over normal imports to ensure uninterrupted availability".
Indian refiners have been forced to cut refinery run rates as shutting down of factories, suspension of flights, stopping of trains and vehicular traffic going off roads shrank demand. Since LPG is produced alongside petrol, diesel and kerosene when crude oil is processed, its availability from domestic refineries has reduced. To make up for that, IOC has tied up additional imports.
"IOC is taking steps to increase LPG production in its major refineries by optimising operations, improving LPG yield in LPG producing units," it said, adding the company's LPG bottling plants too are working extended hours, operating night shifts and on public holidays/Sundays to meet the growing demand.
The transport infrastructure linking the plants to the distributors has also been optimised for quick turnaround of cylinders.
"Thanks to the coordinated efforts of the supply points and the marketing network, IOC could deliver more than 3.38 crore LPG cylinders to its customers in the last 15 days since lockdown, that is, 26 lakh cylinders every single working day," it said.
Despite lockdown/curfew/containment and various other restrictions on movement imposed by various state/district administrations, IOC's LPG distributors and delivery boys are going the extra mile to ensure timely delivery of LPG cylinders to the doorsteps of customers in the safest possible way.
People across the supply chain are practising high standard of hygiene and sanitisation and are using masks and gloves while handling and delivering cylinders.
IOC said priority refill deliveries to LPG customers under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is being given since the government has decided to provide three 14.2-kg cylinders free of cost during the months April, May and June to the poor.
"As part of this, IOC has already initiated the transfer of the retail selling price for the first LPG refill to the bank accounts linked by its PMUY customers for direct subsidy payments. Accordingly, a total amount of over Rs 2,780 crore is being transferred to the bank accounts of about 3.7 crore PMUY customers, and the process is likely to be completed in the next two days." it said.
"At the time of refill delivery, the PMUY customer has to pay the delivery boy the full RSP for the refill as per the cash memo using the amount received by her in her bank account. PMUY customers who have taken delivery of a refill in April prior to the transfer of money in their bank accounts will also be eligible to book for a free refill after 15 days' gap," the statement added.