Monday, February 4, 2008
LPG cylinders being delivered in an autorickshaw. Cylinders from different companies have different colors. Some are red, some are blue, and these are red-blue-yellow. Most households use LPG cylinders for cooking. In Mumbai they deliver gas through pipes. There always seems to be a shortage of gas cylinders and sometimes it can take many days before a replacement arrives, so many families have two cylinders. To get a cylinder you have to be registered with an LPG cylinder dealer. To register you need to produce a ration card which acts as a proof of residence (even if you are not buying anything on the ration card. Things such as rice and kerosene are available at cheaper rates on ration card.) I am not quite sure how people who come to the city on a short duration of a few months manage because they would first have to obtain a ration card. Now-a-days many autorickshaws run on LPG. I have heard that the people who deliver the LPG cylinders make money by selling the cylinders to the autorickshaw drivers for some extra money, and they tell the dealer (for whom they are delivering) that the customer's door was locked. I have also heard that people who run out of gas for cooking, bribe the LPG delivery guys and get a cylinder from them. I am not quite sure how the delivery guys exchange the empty cylinder they bring back to the dealer. There are LPG filling stations for the autorickshaws but they are not enough to fulfill the demand. Just like petrol prices, the prices of LPG cylinders is a sensitive issue in politics and usually prices don't go up till the elections.
The autorickshaw delivering the cylinders is made by Piaggio. The Italian company, which makes the world-famous Vespa scooters, will once again be introducing Vespa scooters in India.
For the language buffs - it says "Bharatgas" on the cylinders. The word "Bharat" is the official name of India in Hindi, Sanskrit and Marathi languages. The name in other Indian languages is a close variation of this word.
"Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispehric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods." -George W. Bush