New Delhi, March 17: The steep hike in domestic cooking gas prices figured in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with a CPI(M) MP saying it has put an intolerable burden on the common people already suffering from a general price rise.
Raising the issue through a zero-hour mention, Jharna Das Baidya, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Member of Parliament from Tripura, said subsidised and non-subsidised LPG prices were raised by a steep Rs 125 per cylinder in four installments since February.
This together with a cut in fuel subsidy has put an “intolerable burden on people already suffering from price rise,” she said.
Calling the price hike “unjustified”, she said free cooking gas connections given to eight crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana have been rendered meaningless because of the hike in cost.
On March 8, responding to a question about the LPG price in the Lok Sabha by Dr. Kalanidhi Veeraswamy – DMK MP from Chennai North – Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, said:
“The prices of petroleum products in the country are linked to the price of respective products in the international market. However, the Government continues to modulate the effective price to consumer for Subsidised Domestic LPG. The subsidy on the product increases/ decreases with the increase/ decrease in the product price in international market and decision of Government on subsidy.”
Pradhan also provided details of the prices of 14.2 kg LPG cylinders in Delhi (non-subsidised) since December last year.
The above table, provided by the ministry, shows that the price of an LPG cylinder in Delhi had risen by Rs 175 over three months between December 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, which comes to an average increase of about Rs 58 a month – nearly two rupees a day.
According to a report in The Economic Times, cooking gas subsidy for the government shrank to Rs 1,126 crore in the first half of the financial year 2020-21 from Rs 22,635 crore for the whole of 2019-20. LPG subsidy had fallen by about 28% in 2019-20 from Rs 31,447 crore in 2018-19.
Reports have mentioned that people who are not being able to afford an LPG cylinder have switched back to firewood to cook food and for other needs.
With PTI Inputs