Despite deadline extension, no gas for Chennai residents sans Aadhar

Indane Gas, the largest domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) provider in Chennai, has reportedly frozen connections of customers who have not provided their Aadhaar details, despite the deadline for linking Aadhaar with domestic gas connections being extended to 31 March.

Customers' requests for refills are being registered by distributors only after they link their Aadhaar numbers, reports The New Indian Express.

Distributors claim connections of customers who had not linked their Aadhaar by 31 December 2017, the earlier deadline, have been frozen by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and refill requests can be processed only once the accounts are freed.

However, IOC denied locking connections of customers who haven't submitted Aadhaar details. ''Only customers who have not submitted Know Your Customer (KYC) details cannot get refills,'' said S Kumar, chief area manager, Chennai, IOC, adding that distributors can unblock connections after getting the KYC details.

Distributors, however, say they have no control over freezing or releasing of accounts and only in very few cases are they able to do it with just KYC details.''Despite the new deadline, the system asks for Aadhaar to unblock connections,'' claimed S Kamalakannan, manager of an Indane outlet in Thiruvanmiyur, who added that nearly 30 people come to his office every day regarding this.

Sharun Ichigo, a resident of Adambakkam, says his connection remains blocked even after giving his KYC to the gas agency at Maduvankarai twice. ''My mom got a message that our connection was blocked because we did not link Aadhaar. She replied saying the deadline has been extended to 31 March but has not got a reply,'' he said.

The manager at Sabha Gas agency, Maduvankarai, says over 1,000 accounts have been blocked and customers might not get relief by just filling KYC forms.

Hindustan Petroleum, another gas provider, has also been insisting on Aadhaar linkage but has let customers buy cylinders without subsidy if they haven't provided Aadhaar details.

''We are only asking for KYC forms from customers who are yet to receive their Aadhar card,'' said D Suresh, head of the customer service, Chennai region.

Thousands of LPG customers in Karnataka too had connections blocked apparently because they didn't link Aadhaar. IOC officials said Indane customers were not allowed to book new cylinders post-January 1. On why the SC's extension of the deadline was not followed, they said the company circular in this regard was final.