Gas agencies in city witness last-day rush to fill KYC forms

The last day for filling in Know Your Customer (KYC) forms for LPG cylinders witnessed a huge rush and chaos at gas agencies in the city. Only 35-40 per cent forms have been collected, and agencies fearing law and order issues have written to the police for protection from December 1.

After daylong uncertainty over whether the government would again extend the deadline for submitting KYC forms, PTI reported late on Friday evening that consumers now have until the end of the year to comply with the order. The government has ordered the submission of KYC forms in order to weed out multiple or ghost connections to ensure implementation of the six-cylinder ceiling for subsidised cooking gas.

"We have now decided to extend the deadline by a month to December 31," PTI quoted a senior official of the oil ministry as saying in Delhi. The official clarified that "only multiple connection holders" needed to submit their KYC details before the new deadline.

Earlier, long queues formed outside gas agencies, who called in extra staff to handle the last-minute rush. The last two days have seen the submission of 25-30 per cent of forms, most agencies said.

Usha Poonawalla, the state president of the LPG dealers' association, said 1,000 forms had been collected at her Pragati Gas Agency on Alandi Road on Friday. "There was a huge rush right from the early hours," Poonawala said.

Agencies said that many of those who queued up came without the required proofs of identity and residence. "Their forms could not be accepted. There was major chaos at our Mulshi outlet. Many villagers who had showed up had no clue about what to submit," Vinita Daphale, proprietor of Ajay Distributors which has two outlets at Kothrud and Mulshi, said.

Anuradha Ghole, the owner of an agency in Hadapsar, said only 25 per cent forms had been submitted. "We had sent out messages and even the forms, but people did not submit them," Ghole said.

Amar Borhade, who is in charge of Kiran Gas Agency at Lulla Nagar which has around 50,000 customers, said 25-30 per cent people had filled in the forms. "There is total confusion. People with single connections too were at the counter, filling in KYCs. And there were several others who had queued up for something totally different," he said.

Gas agencies kept aside their usual work to concentrate entirely on the KYCs. Suhas Dhamdhere who has an agency at Parvati complained, "The process is really time-consuming, and such a small timeframe is not enough. Also, people have not responded as required."

However, some agencies pointed out that the deadline for submitting forms had been changed four times, and everyone had had enough warning. "There was enough time for customers to respond, but people have been slothful," said a gas agency owner in the Pashan area.

The forms require names, addresses, bank details and Aadhar numbers — if available — to be filled in. Those who fail to submit the forms run the risk of having their connections cancelled.

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