Gas delivery boys asked to place refills at consumer door steps

Oil firms advise distributors to follow the practice due to COVID-19 concerns

As COVID-19 numbers soar, gas delivery boys have begun depositing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder refills at the door steps of customers. Officials at Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) said that they had asked their distributors to restart this practice, which had been introduced last year during the lockdown. “Unless the customer expressly asks that the cylinder be kept inside the house, the delivery personnel have to make the pre-delivery checks, including weighing, checking pin and O-ring, outside the premises,” said an official of IOCL.

The company is also encouraging non-cash forms of payment, which now stands at 35% of all their transactions and has climbed from being 16% sometime last year.

“The delivery boys have QR codes behind their ID cards, which can be used by customers to make the payment during the delivery. They can pay online while making the booking,” said another official. Virugambakkam resident Chandrasekar said the delivery boy had been placing the cylinder inside the house. “I should perhaps ask him to leave it outside the next time he comes,” he said.

Chitlapakkam resident Vishwanathan said that in most cases, the delivery was being done at the doorstep and in some cases inside the houses with the boys checking the cylinder by connecting it to the gas stove and lighting it.

An official at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. said the boys were continuing last year’s practice when it came to deliveries. “We are ensuring mask compliance. Distributors are giving boiled eggs, kabasura kudineer and even zinc and iron tablets to the delivery boys,” he said.

A distributor, however, said that they were unable to provide vaccination to the delivery personnel despite being frontline warriors. “Each man visits at least 30 homes daily. We are worried about the safety of both our staff and the customers. So far, the oil companies and the government have not taken any steps to ensure these men are vaccinated, which is very unfortunate,” he said.

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