Check artificial LPG cylinder shortage

Mumbai: The scarcity of LPG cylinders has reached a dangerous proportion all over the country and there should be a check on their artificial scarcity, former Petroleum Minister Ram Naik has said.

Naik said he met Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy and requested him to check scarcity of LPG cylinders which has reached a dangerous proportion all over the country.

The 5 kg. cylinders which were introduced during his tenure for the benefit of domestic consumers of low income group and hilly areas have disappeared from the market, Naik said.

The standard size 14.2 kg. cylinders are in short supply and consumers have to wait for over a month to get replenishment cylinders, he said. As a result black-market is thriving and this must be stopped, Naik told Reddy.

"The 14.2 kg. domestic cylinder presently costs Rs 348.45 i.e. Rs 21.45 per kg. At this rate a domestic 5 kg cylinder should be available at Rs 122.70. However, it has disappeared from the market, but in some areas, it is available at the commercial rate of Rs 362.47.

"Who will purchase such a cylinder at high price when it is costlier than a 14.2 kg domestic cylinder? The consumers or agents in hilly area find it difficult to pay more than Rs 300 at one time. Hence the model of 5 kg cylinder was developed," he said.

The artificial scarcity of 14.2 kg cylinders has led to black-marketing as over a month is taken for delivery, Naik said. "When we were in the government, we used to deliver the cylinder within 24 hours," Naik said, adding Reddy assured him to enquire into the matter and take appropriate action.