In one of the steepest hikes in liquefied petroleum gas prices in seven years, national oil marketing companies have increased commercial 19-kg LPG cylinder cost by more than Rs.266 with effect from November 1.
Though upward revisions are not entirely unusual amid a surge in crude oil prices, the quantum will indeed be worrisome for restaurants, eateries and even many tea stalls, which constitute the largest user segment of the 19-kg cylinder. It is bound to make matters worse as many, just like their customers, are grappling with cascading impact of rising petrol and diesel prices.
A 19-kg cylinder, following the increase, will cost ₹2,000.50 as against Rs.1,734 in Delhi; ₹1,950 (Rs.1,683) in Mumbai; ₹2,073.50 (Rs.1,803) in Kolkata; ₹2,133 (Rs.1,865) in Chennai; and ₹2,175 (Rs.1,905) in Hyderabad.
Varying from ₹266-270 in the five cities, the increase has been the highest in Hyderabad and Kolkata. Nationwide, it is the second highest since January 1, 2014, when the 19-kg cylinder became dearer by as much as ₹353.50 (in Delhi). Over the past seven years, there have been several instances of the price going up by ₹190 per cylinder, including on February 1 this year when it touched ₹1,539 (₹1,349).
Potential enough to make eating out or even a cuppa costlier, the latest revision could also be a precursor for a sharp rise in domestic 14.2 kg refill price. Sources say the oil marketing companies may wait until Deepavali, which is a few days away, to effect an increase in the cost of refills used by households.
Telangana LPG Distributors Association president K. Jagan Mohan Reddy said with reports of under-recovery on LPG by the oil companies – Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum – mounting, increase in domestic cooking gas price appears inevitable.
In a related development, the government has increased LPG distributors commission by ₹17 on each commercial cylinder, from ₹121 to ₹138. This is also factored into the latest increase in the price. According to Mr.Reddy, the commission has been enhanced considering the higher investment the distributors would have to make on procuring the stock.