The biggest challenge B. Suganya, a home maker from Siddhapudur, has is how to go about buying LPG cylinder as the Central Government has said a household will get only six subsidised refills a year.
Her family was a beneficiary of the Tamil Nadu Government’s free cooking gas scheme. The government had given her a stove and paid the deposit to the oil marketing company concerned so as to provide her gas connection.
This was sometime in 2009-10. With the family getting a cylinder connection, Suganya saw her kerosene allocation go down from 10 litres a month to three litres a month. The family somehow managed by buying LPG cylinders from friends at a premium.
“I used to buy a cylinder for around Rs. 500,” she recalls. This was because the Government’s free LPG scheme came with a cap on six subsidised cylinders a year. And beneficiary families like Ms. Suganya’s were not entitled for the seventh cylinder.
Now that the Central Government had limited the number of subsidised cylinders to six a year, those who lend/sell cylinders would not do so. Or even if they did, they would sell a cylinder at least Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 more than the market price and that would be around Rs. 950 a cylinder.
The mother of two says that purchasing a cylinder at that price is impossible for her family.
Her husband Balakrishnan, a taxi driver, earns around Rs. 8,000 a month.
And, the worse, she says, is that she cannot revert to kerosene because the three litres a month goes towards lighting the hurricane lamp for her children to study during power cuts. “What will I do,” she asks.
But then there seems to be a ray of hope as the oil marketing companies have written to the Central Government seeking a clarification. Sources say now that the six-subsidised-cylinders-a-year cap applies to all, they want to know if the OMCs could sell the seventh cylinder without subsidy to such families.
This is unlikely to impact the kerosene offtake in the district because, according to officials, almost all card holders buy their entire allotted quantity. Coimbatore district gets 1,886 kilo litres a month and the offtake is 1,880 kilo litres.
Of the 10.24 lakh card holders in the district, 6.45 lakh card holders buy kerosene. As per rules, those with one LPG cylinder connection get three litres of kerosene a month. Those without any LPG cylinder connection get 10 litres if they are in corporation area, six litres if they reside within a municipality, five litres if they are within town panchayat limits and three litres if they are in a village panchayat.