A citizen shares his experience of getting his LPG connection and bank account linked to his Aadhaar card. He asks the Modi government what they can do about it.
Gurdev Parmar, 07 Feb 2015 , Citizen Matters
This post is my vent on the rotten experience we LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) consumers, in Bangalore, had to face due to Center’s decision of deciding to transfer our LPG subsidy to our bank accounts directly. This meant that our Aadhar number had to be linked to the LPG account and to the bank.
Here, I have to mention this to Mr Nilekani: whatever might have been the noble intentions behind the Aadhar card, it was not done properly. We spent a lot of our precious time to get the card done, when it was introduced. We had to make numerous trips to submit the documents, with many instances of no power at the registration centre. We had attached our bank details (with cancelled cheque) and our LPG account details too at that time. Why didn’t the linking happen at your end, Mr Nilekani? Good that you didn’t get elected again!
Like always when our LPG cylinder is empty, we book the refill on phone. We realised that something was wrong when we didn’t get our cylinder even 10 days after I got an SMS that my cash memo was generated. When we called up the IVR we got a shock that our booking was cancelled. We booked another time and even that was cancelled by our LPG distributor(LPGD). We knew that Aadhar linking to LPG was on. We even saw this in our PG booking SMS “You can handover your Aadhar card Xerox along with Form-2 to Delivery boy”. So, the LPGD had no business cancelling our bookings.
We then went to his office to find out why he is cancelling our bookings without even telling us the reason. There we found a person who was extremely rude who was running the show. He shouted at us for no reason at all. We gathered from his shoutings at us that until we do our Aadhar linking to the LPG a/c the bookings will get cancelled. Then he told us to give him a cancelled cheque and he will link our bank a/c to the LPG a/c and he will give us a cylinder. Obviously, we were not carrying our chequebook nor our gas cylinder. We ran home and got it and gave it to him.
Now, when he is entering our details in the system we see that he has got our name wrong in the system. At this point, he throws up his hand and says that I must get a notarized affidavit on a Rs.20 stamp paper to get this corrected. Without that he cannot give us the cylinder. We were trying to reason with him that the error happened, most probably, by their operator, at the time of entering our details and he should correct our name without this long procedure. He becomes even more rude and more shouting follows.
He alleges that we gave him the wrong spelling! These are the kind of monsters who are running the show, Mr Modi! We then came home and started doing our investigations online on how we an get this linking done online. On mylpg.in we found a way to do it. And we linked our Aadhar card with our LPG account. We then picked a day when we first went to Jayanagar (12kms both ways in Bangalore traffic) and for Rs.200 got an affidavit to correct our name in the LPGD system. We then went straight to the LPGD armed with the affidavit and Aadhar card photo-copies.
On this day, he was extra rude. He said he won’t do any documentation on this day because of the rush of customers at his outlet. We also found out that in his system our Aadhar is still appearing as not linked! In his rudeness and shoutings he ranted at us: “Why don’t you go and trouble the bank and link your Aadhar card there where the employees draw 80K salaries!” Again, we were turned away from his outlet without our LPG refill.
We went to an HDFC bank branch and we were pleasantly surprised by the way we were treated by the officer over there. It was like the difference between hell and heaven. It was then, we wondered why we didn’t approach the bank directly, in the first place. We gave the required documentation there very smoothly. We were told to wait for for five working days for the linking to happen. At the end of five working days, we again picked the nerve to approach our LPGD to give us our refill. This time we were prepared. We even packed our car with a printer and a UPS (pictures below) just in case he again sends us on a wild goose chase of getting this or that document.
Remember, he had cancelled two of our bookings in the past. We had made another booking too, just in case he says that we don’t have any booking, just to refuse us the refill again. This time we were pleasantly surprised to know that his system was showing as linking done successfully. And he also was ready to give us the refill. Now, I told him to take the affidavit he had asked us. He said that it is not required since the linking is done! facepalm I spent one half day into getting this made.
According to a government notification, no gas agency can stop supplying your refill. Yet, this LPGD did so blatantly, putting all consumers to hardship. Also when this fact was pointed out to him, he openly challenged us saying, “Go complain.” My wife found a baffled lady in the queue who wanted a refill but he was denying it since she did not have a booking. Well, her booking had been canceled by him without information and now he was using that as an excuse not to give her the refill. The other day, a senior citizen came with his LPG book and empty cylinder after making a trip home.
When he reached the place at some minutes before 1 pm, the security guard rudely told him to come back at 2.30 pm as it was lunch time. No one cares for the elderly, the women or the needy who are made to suffer to get the cylinder refills they anyway deserve. What was despicable was their attitude to yell and make you run around even more instead of trying to help you out. We also tried complaining on the online portal but no one responded to our queries. The helpline said that their systems were not working and hence could not register our complaint. The system has been painful beyond compare. It is like no one cares.
Mr Modi, this is how your people are implementing the government schemes of subsidy transfers directly to the bank. If well-read people and people who reasonably know their rights are treated like dogs, we can only imagine how that outlet guy must be treating lesser people. If you are in any position to take any action on such LPG dealers, please take it!