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Quepem’s cattle pound is now an LPG storage shed

Story: BA | LON MASCARENHAS | 31st December 2017, 07:16 Hrs

Believe it or not, LPG consumers of East Quepem Consumers Co-operative Society (EQCCS) are now expected to visit the municipal cattle pound to collect their refill cylinders.
The EQCCS is one distributing agency for HP gas in Quepem and the decision to shift the agency's outlet to a makeshift open shed in the premises of the unused cattle pound near the Quepem cemetery has raised serious concern among locals, especially after a fire had been recently set in the adjacent property, barely metres away from the shed storing LPG cylinders.
Speaking to The Goan, locals said the gas agency outlet was initially located on the ground floor of the Quepem Municipal Council (QMC) market complex. Since the market building is getting demolished to make way for a new multi-storeyed market complex, all tenants were relocated to the adjacent municipal building.
"Some were relocated by converting the Quepem Bus stop into three shops and by constructing another two new shops. Authorities even went to the extent of constructing two shops on the septic tank of a Sulabh Toilet nearby," said a local.
"To our surprise, the EQCCS has been the original tenant of the municipal building since the premises were inaugurated, but it has been sidelined. It has now been shifted to a makeshift open shed which lacks not just proper access, but also basic fire-fighting appliances to use in case of any emergency," the local added.
This concern was highlighted barely a week ago, when owners of the adjacent
property were found burning some leaves. The flames in their property were barely metres away from the LPG storage shed.
A visit to the site revealed that the gas agency attendant was seated on a plastic chair, with virtually no facilities and furniture to deal with customers. He was seen using empty cylinders as a makeshift table to write bills.
"I am also facing great hardship as there are no proper seating arrangements. We have to bring the filled cylinders in the morning and take the remaining unsold cylinders along with the empty cylinders in the evening," remarked the attendant.
"I only have a plastic chair at my disposal. The makeshift shed only has a roof of tin sheets and no walls of any kind. There is no place where we can store anything," he added.
When contacted, EQCCS Chairman Navin Khandolkar said they have written to the QMC in this regard. "The municipal council has assured to cover the open portion with tin sheets. But I agree that QMC should have allotted a proper and appropriate place in Quepem town to avoid causing hardship to consumers as cooking gas is a necessity," Khandolkar said.

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