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Cooking gas price heads further north

New Delhi/Patna, Oct. 6: Subsidised cooking gas will cost Rs 11.42 more per cylinder following a government decision to increase the commission paid to dealers, which comes weeks after it capped the number of subsidised cylinders a family can get in a year at six.

After the increase, a subsidised cooking gas cylinder in Patna will cost Rs 431.50, in Delhi Rs 410.42, in Mumbai Rs 434.42 and in Chennai Rs 397.92. The residents of Patna were, hitherto, paying Rs 420 for each subsidised cylinder. An unsubsidised domestic cooking gas cylinder in Patna will cost Rs 989.

Mamata Banerjee, who has quit the UPA over its decision to push economic reforms, described the price increase as “very bad, very sad”. In a Facebook post, she said: “Do you know, how many times prices have been increased, affecting the interest of the common people during UPA-II?

“Today again, the Central Government has hiked LPG prices by, Rs 11.42 per cylinder ... Very bad, very sad.”

Bihar BJP vice-president Sanjay Mayukh termed the Centre’s decision “whimsical”, while JD(U) spokesperson and MLC Niraj Kumar also criticised the UPA government for the hike.

The petroleum ministry yesterday issued orders raising the commission paid to LPG dealers from Rs 25.83 per 14.2kg subsidised cylinder to Rs 37.25, government officials said. For an unsubsidised domestic cylinder, the commission has been raised by Rs 12.17 to Rs 38.

The government also raised the commission paid on a 5kg LPG cylinder by Rs 5.33 to Rs 18.63.

This increase in the commission is being passed on to consumers, they said.

Petrol and diesel prices, too, could go up marginally as the ministry is considering raising the dealers’ commission by at least 23 paise a litre on petrol to Rs 1.72 and 10 paise a litre on diesel to Rs 1.01.

The increase being considered is less than the 67 paise and 42 paise respectively being demanded by petrol pump dealers, who have cited a substantial increase in their working capital cost because of frequent price changes and a sharp rise in overheads like electricity charges.

They have also argued that unlike LPG agencies, which are closed on national holidays and once a week, petrol pumps stay open all 365 days and therefore have a higher operating cost.

Petrol pumps also provide free facilities such as toilets, water and air-pressure for tyres, the dealers have argued.

Nutan, a resident of Indrapuri area who runs a saree shop, said: “Our household budget has gone for a toss completely with prices of each and every commodity going northwards.”