Tea shop owners in the city have protested the recent hike in the price of commercial LPG cylinders. The cost of a 19-kg cylinder has gone up by Rs. 385, from Rs. 1,834 to Rs. 2,219.

The shop owners said a cylinder lasts only for two or three days, and this steep increase will affect their livelihoods.

On Monday, about 700 members of the Chennai Metropolitan Tea Shop Owners’ Association staged a demonstration to register their protest. There are nearly 5,000 tea shop owners in the city, of which 3,000 are members of the association.

“Previously, the price of cylinders has been increased by Rs. 20 or Rs. 50, but this time it is by nearly Rs. 400. This has put a huge burden on us,” said T. Anandan, president of the association.

The owners said they were already struggling with the increase in milk prices. “A glass of tea costs Rs. 7 now. We cannot increase the price further as it will affect our business,” Mr. Anandan said.

E. Sundaram, secretary of the association said, on an average, an owner spending Rs. 8,000 per day on essentials, including tea powder, sugar and milk, would have sales of around Rs. 10,000.

“We already spend more due to the rising prices of essential commodities. Now, we have to shell out Rs. 400 extra every few days for cylinders. Due to this, our profit margins will dwindle considerably,” he said.

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