The State Government is set to face a major embarrassment over the fact that LPG cylinders meant for domestic purposes are being used at the canteens of two MLA Hostels located near the Mantralaya.
Two flying squads, attached to the office of the Controller of Rationing, conducted raids at the MLA Hostel opposite Akashwani, and Manora MLA Hostel, situated on the Free Press Journal Road yesterday. Both the hostels have rooms allotted to members of the State Legislature for their stay in the State capital.
The process was on to lodge the FIRs against the contractors of both canteens for violating section 3 (7) of the Essential Commodities Act, which is a non-bailable offence. The section deals with misuse, theft and black marketing of commodities, said an official from the rationing department.
According to him, the action was necessary as a few LPG cylinder blasts were noticed during the Mantralaya fire that took place in June last year. “The restaurants attached to government establishments are not exempted from using LPG cylinders. However, they are expected to use LPG meant for commercial purpose. The main canteen at Mantralaya that serves tea, snacks and lunch to officials and Ministers may soon come under the scanner,” the official added.
A team that conducted raids at the MLA Hostel opposite Akashwani found nine LPG cylinders meant for domestic use. Ashwini Joshi, Rationing Controller for Mumbai, confirmed the raid saying the teams have found LPG cylinders meant for domestic use at the MLA Hostel canteen.
What surprised the officials most during the raid was that the contractors who were selected through the bidding process were using LPG cylinders whose connection is in the name of the Executive Engineer (PWD).
“The deposit for the cylinders, amounting to Rs 48,000, has been paid by the PWD official,” said an official, from the rationing department.
When most of the hospitals in the city were using LPG cylinders for commercial use, what made the government offices to use those under the domestic purpose is the main question.
The efforts to trace out who issued the exemption orders to facilitate such a use have proved futile.