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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Booking the refill for Indane Gas cylinder - do you know the new procedure !

Do you know who was the first chairman of Indian Oil ?  Our taste buds want quality good food served hot but many may not know the gas connection at home, how much does a cylinder cost  and how it gets refilled ???

Not many of today’s youngsters would know the ordeals that the earlier generation had in making the good ready.  Even in cities there were only stoves (kerosene stoves).  In villages, it was mostly by wood fired ovens.  Imagine the plight of those who had to stand near the hot oven for preparation of food.  Worst was the plight in lighting a stove again and again – there existed pump stoves and wick stoves.

A gas stove is common in most households [there are some who have only induction and electric ones besides the microwave ovens]  The gas stove uses LPG – liquefied petroleum gas, which is mostly a mixture of propane and butane.  Propane is a three-carbon alkane, normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid.  It may also contain small amounts of propylene and/or butylene. An odorant such as ethanethiol or thiophene is added so that people can easily smell the gas in case of a leak. 

The gas cylinders available for domestic use generally are of 14.2 kg capacity; 5 kg variant is also available in some places.  The commercial ones also come in 19 kgs and 47.5 kgs. The gas that we use at home LPG  has an explosive range of 1.8% to 9.5% volume of gas in air. This is considerably narrower than other common gaseous fuels. The auto-ignition temperature of LPG is around 410-580 deg. C and hence it will not ignite on its own at normal temperature. LPG has only a very faint smell, and consequently, it is necessary to add some odourant, so that any escaping gas can easily be detected.LPG is colourless both in liquid and vapour phase. During leakage the vapourisation of liquid cools the atmosphere and condenses the water vapour contained in them to form a whitish fog which may make it possible to see an escape of LPG.  LPG even though slightly toxic, is not poisonous in vapour phase, but can, however, suffocate when in large concentrations due to the fact that it displaces oxygen. In view of this the vapour posses mild anaesthetic properties.

Though there are Bharat Gas and others, Indane is perhaps the largest brand in India It is the product of Indian Oil Corporation, a State owned gas company headquartered in Mumbai.  It began operation sin 1964.   IndianOil began operation in 1964 as Indian Oil Company Ltd. The Indian Oil Corporation was formed in 1964, with the merger of Indian Refineries Ltd.

Depending on the usage in a household, the 14.2 kg cylinder might last for a month or less.  And getting a refill is sometimes a ordeal, especially for office goers.  The cylinder is often supplied by an Agency which acts as a retail outlet.  A telephone no. would exist but would be next to impossible to reach people on that line.  If you are lucky, the person may not answer and if by chance you get through, there is no guarantee that your cylinder has been booked as there would be no confirmation process. And days after, you might have to redo the entire process afresh.  A visit in person is often considered the right measure to book a cylinder.  There have been complaints of malpractices of cylinders booked in one name being to supplied to some others as also complaints of domestic cylinders being used for commercial purposes.

Often there would be crisis and delays in supply.  To tide over, the Companies introduced  ‘21 day waiting period’  for registering request for refill.  Now for the convenience of Indane LPG consumers, the Company has introduced IVRS [Interactive Voice Response System] which aims to benefit 18 lakh users in the city.   With the launch of this system, irrespective of your distributor or retail outlet, you need to call--    8124024365 for an LPG refill.

The IVRS would ask for selection of language (No 1 for Tamil and 2 for English); then idntify distributor by dialling the distributor’s phone number with STD code.

The system will identify and announce the distributor’s name and would ask you to confirm the same by pressing no.1.  Then you need to enter your consumer number [can you recall your consumer number without referring to any Xl sheet or a print out !]

Though some would have alphabets, there is provision for entering the numerical only.   The system would repeat the no. keyed in and you need to confirm by pressing no. 1.  Then press 1 for booking the refill.

At this stage, the systems seeks confirmation for storing the no. so that the booking can be done easier from the next time onwards.  There is also a provision for registering your mobile no. for refill and subsequent bookings can be made through SMS by texting ‘REFILL’ to the same no.  An SMS alert is also provided confirming the booking. 

A single refill costs around Rs.352.40 and depending on the floor of delivery, the agent might ask for Rs.380/- approx..  If you take delivery of the cylinder from the premises of the retailer, there is provision for a small rebate [which I read somewhere to be Rs.8/- ]  At Delhi, it is 345.34, Kolkata 365.10 and at Mumbai 348.45.

Feroze Gandhi [1912-1960] was the first chairman of Indian Oil Corporation Limited.  He published the National Herald and ‘the Nanjivan’ newspapers from Lucknow In 1942 he married Indira Priyadarshini [daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru], subsequently became a member of the Lok Sabha.  His father in law, Wife and son were Prime Ministers of India, is history. 

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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