Jorhat, Nov. 2: The hike in price of LPG and restriction on number of cylinders per connection has come as a boon for the Assam Gas Company’s piped gas scheme, with potential consumers thronging its office here making enquiries and filling up forms.
An official of the gas company said they have been fielding queries from customers from morning till evening in the last couple of weeks and a number of forms had been taken away.
“We are yet to tally the number of forms which have been submitted so far and those yet to come in but the government’s recent directives regarding cooking gas has certainly given a boost to our piped gas scheme,” the official said.
The official said they had no plans to hike the per unit consumption of piped gas and a hike would be necessitated only if the ministry of petroleum and natural gas raised the price.
“The pricing of natural gas is controlled by the ministry and if it raises the price then we will follow suit. Moreover, there might be a nominal increase when we do our yearly cost review. Till now, the price of one subsidised LPG cylinder is almost on a par with the average cost of units a consumer uses piped gas monthly. However, it is much less than the price of a non-subsidised cylinder,” he said.
The official said they had tried many moves to attract consumers earlier to go for piped gas but there had been few takers because of the high initial cost.
Till May last year, only 58 out of the 1,000-odd families in ward 17 had subscribed to the facility, where the company launched the scheme in 2008.
The initial cost to the consumer for installing pipes from the main line by the side of the main road in the ward to respective kitchens of households comes to anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000.
Another reason for the reluctance of consumers to avail the facility had been the metering system, which was made mandatory by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board in 2006 and came into effect from 2008.
According to the metering system, a flat rate of Rs 260 was charged for 15 cubic metres of natural gas and additional Rs 16.50 per cubic metre on the flat rate after that. The average consumption of a family of four came to around to 25 cubic metres.
The hike in price of LPG had resulted in a protest in front of the AGCL office in Golaghat district yesterday by AASU and local residents.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi had laid the foundation stone for the piped natural gas facility in 2004 but nothing had been done till now.