LPG supply may be hit as Covid fear keeps delivery boys away

NEW DELHI: LPG dealers have warned of impending supply disruptions as delivery boys are increasingly failing to turn up for work for fear of catching the virus while delivering refills to households.
Their fear is growing in the absence of priority vaccination in the backdrop of 500 of them succumbing to Covid-19 and 50,000 others being infected across the country, Federation of LPG Distributors of India said on Monday.
Last year LPG delivery boys were praised as Corona Warriors for maintaining uninterrupted supply after the world’s strictest lockdown shut down the country and confined people to their homes.
A federation statement said delivery boys and others involved in LPG distribution chain should be declared as frontline workers and vaccinated on priority.
It said delivery boys visit 65-75 lakh houses and come in contact with more than three crore people daily. This makes them vulnerable and can also turn them into super spreaders, the statement said.
The federation put the government on 15-day notice, saying the “concerned authorities” will be responsible for any disruption in cylinder delivery caused by refusal by delivery boys and staff after that deadline.
The federation represents 12,000 dealers, or half the total number of dealerships, and three lakh permanent and temporary staff across the country.
Senior executives of IndianOil, the largest retailer in the country, said the company has provided insurance cover to frontline associates and will sponsor their vaccination.
“All our state offices have written to respective governments seeking ‘frontline’ status for delivery boys and petrol pump attendants etc,” one executive said.