New Delhi: Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily was on Wednesday forced to cancel three events in his home state of Karnataka after the model code of conduct came into force with the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule.
Moily was to inaugurate the nation's first strategic oil storage at Mangalore, which was built to insulate the country from supply disruptions.
He was to dedicate to the nation the expanded capacity of Mangalore Refinery as well as the newly built Rs 5,750 crore aromatic complex in the Mangalore Special Economic Zone. Besides, he was to have inaugurated an R&D centre of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd in Bangalore.
All functions were cancelled after the Election Commission announced the poll schedule.
"The events at Mangalore were scheduled for evening but the poll notification came in the morning so they had to be cancelled," an official said.
However, his ministry managed to beat the model code of conduct when it launched a 'dial-a-mini-LPG' scheme of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd this morning.
The scheme, launched minutes before Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath began addressing a press conference at 1030 hours, allows people to buy a 5-kg LPG cylinder in the same manner as ordering home delivery of pizza.
"People desirous of availing a Bharatgas Mini (5 kg cylinder) can dial the toll-free number 1800 22 4344 (same for all cities) and order a new connection or a refill cylinder," an official statement said.
The mini cylinder will be priced at a market rate of Rs 543 compared with Rs 411 for a subsidised 14.2-kg bottle.
"For a new 5 kg connection, customers will be charged Rs 1,000 plus applicable taxes for the cylinder and Rs 250 plus applicable taxes for a regulator in addition to the cost of LPG," the statement said.
The connection or refill cylinder will be delivered to the residence of the customer within 2 hours of booking at a minimal charge of Rs 25, it said, adding that the service started in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad today.
It will be available in Mumbai and Pune in the first week of March and extended to other cities in a phased manner.
Officials said Moily was to dedicate to the nation Mangalore Refinery's expanded capacity of 15 million tons (from 11.8 million tons).
The aromatic complex he was to inaugurate was built by ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd - a joint venture of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.
Also on his schedule was the dedication of a 1.55 million ton underground oil storage, the first of three strategic reserves India is building.