State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is witnessing a 30 per cent surge in daily demand for LPG cylinders across West Bengal due to panic buying in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Thursday.
The company has taken adequate steps to meet the rising demand, the official said.
"There has been a 30 per cent increase in demand for LPG cylinders from the last one week," the IOC official said.
The daily demand has soared to around 3.25 lakh cylinders as compared to normal bookings of about 2.5 lakh in the state.
He said the rise in demand has been due to panic buying by customers, adding that the petroleum giant is fully equipped to make LPG available to them.
"To meet the rising demand, IOC has taken steps to increase LPG production at its major refineries by optimising operations and improving yield at the producing units," he said.
There is "no need" for panic-buying which will put unnecessary pressure on the supply chain, the official said, adding that IOC enjoys around 60 per cent market share in the LPG distribution segment in West Bengal, he said.
"If this (panic-buying) is not stopped, it will be extremely difficult to maintain supplies," he added.
The company's bottling plants at Budge Budge, Kalyani, Durgapur, Siliguri and Malda in West Bengal have been asked to operate according to the advisory of the state government or local administration to maintain the supply of essential services, he said.
"All the bottling plants are operating at 100 per cent capacity," he said.