The Centre’s decision to restrict the number of subsidised LPG cylinders to six a year per household has educated people to use fuel cautiously.
The growth rate of cylinder consumption for Patna town (see chart) has gone down from 4 to 1 per cent in the September-November quarter of this fiscal.
The Centre had introduced the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders in September. Soon, Patna witnessed a dip in the consumption of cylinders this year in comparison to the corresponding period in 2011. The city had consumed 3,72,000 domestic cylinders in September 2011 but the corresponding figure came down to 3,29,000 this year.
“Though Patna witnessed a growth of one per cent in the September-November quarter this year in terms of domestic cylinder consumption, it is one-fourth of the percentage growth of consumption between the corresponding months of 2010 and 2011,” a senior officer with an oil company told The Telegraph.
Faced with the task of bringing down the ballooning oil subsidy, the government for the first time had introduced a cap on the supply of 14.2kg LPG cylinders that will make the consumers pay the market price for cylinders beyond six.
The government, while introducing the restriction on cylinders, had said any number of LPG cylinders would be available at the market rate over the capped number of six. While the price of the subsidised cylinder continues to be Rs 420 per cylinder in Patna, the market rate is being notified by oil firms on a monthly basis.
Since the ceiling came into effect, consumers here have taken several steps to control their home budget to deal with the new system of saving gas.
Homemaker Kiran Devi, who lives in Kankerbagh, said: “Nowadays, I prefer using the induction cooktop rather than LPG cylinder. Even if I use the cylinder, I prefer a pressure cooker to save gas.”
Citing reasons, Kiran said for a homemaker, budget is very important and “one has to run the household within the budget”.
“The cap on cylinders came into effect almost in the middle of this fiscal. In that case, we had to manage with just three cylinders for the rest of the fiscal. That is tough for homemakers who have to manage everything within a pre-set budget,” Kiran added.
If some have cut down on the use of cylinders by replacing them with induction cooktops, some homemakers have changed their everyday menu to prevent overspending.
Swagata Adhikari of Indrapuri has compromised with the taste bud of her family to deal with the cap.
“I have stopped preparing paranthas and rotis in the morning these days. After the government’s diktat, I prefer cooking chowmein or daliya for breakfast,” she said.
Neha Singh of Patel Nagar has gone a step further and cut down on the number of dishes being served at home.
“This is my way of saving fuel. I have cut down on the number of dishes. Earlier, we used to have at least four to five dishes for lunch. Now, it has come down to three.”
Boring Canal Road resident Simmi Shailendra is finding the six-cylinder-per-household limit “very difficult to manage” for her family of four.
“We cannot compromise with food. Therefore, when dishes like nan, tandoori roti and non-vegetarian items are cooked, I prefer using the oven, toaster, grill or the microwave oven. I use the induction cooktop also.”
Prerna, a resident of Rajendra Nagar, believes managing with six cylinders in a year is “tough” for those who have large families.
“Six cylinders aren’t enough for a family of eight to nine people. I have taken all measures so that I can manage with the cap but I think I will fall short. I will now have to buy cylinders from the open market. That will burn a hole in my pocket for sure,” said homemaker Prerna.