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Govt steps on the gas with eye on polls

The government is set to raise the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders for each household to 12 per year from the current limit of nine with an eye on the vote bank in the run- up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Mail Today Bureau | January 11, 2014 | Updated 08:51 IST

The government is set to raise the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders for each household to 12 per year from the current limit of nine with an eye on the vote bank in the run- up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Petroleum minister M. Veerappa Moily on Friday said, " The government will seriously consider raising the limit to 12 cylinders per household."

The minister said that he would consult Union finance minister P. Chidambaram and forward the proposal to the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

The comment came after Congress MPs Sanjay Nirupam, P. C. Chacko and Mahabal Mishra met Moily with a petition requesting him to raise the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12 per household.

Chidambaram had last week stated that there were demands from several chief ministers to raise the quota and that the government will look into the issue. Moily, however, had last week said that there is no such proposal with the petroleum ministry but clearly the pressure has built up as a scam- battered government heads for the general elections.

The government had initially capped the supply of subsidised domestic LPG cylinders to six per household in a year in September 2012 in order to reduce the soaring subsidy bill as international prices had shot up.

However, considering the adverse political fallout of the move, the annual quota was then raised to nine in January 2013.

Nirupam said that most consumers had exhausted their quota in the first nine months of the current financial year and now have to buy LPG at the market price of Rs 1,258 per cylinder.

"There are economic justifications for restricting the supply of subsidised cylinders but the decision has affected common people. Nine cylinders are not sufficient to meet the requirement of an average household and we are demanding that this be raised to 12," Chacko said.

Officials said that state-owned oil firms lose Rs 762.70 per cylinder on the sale of subsidised LPG.

Courtesy: Mail Today

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