The petroleum ministry's proposal to limit the number of subsidised liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders for each household to seven each year seems to be facing strong headwinds.
A petroleum ministry official told MAIL TODAY that a similar proposal to limit the ceiling to eight cylinders had been rejected by the Cabinet in 2008, so it is unlikely that a lower cap will be allowed to go through now, as the political situation has turned more sensitive for the Congress-led UPA coalition government.
The official estimate that an LPG cylinder is sufficient to meet the cooking requirements of a domestic kitchen for 40 days is itself being questioned.
The estimate has been arrived at by dividing the total number of cylinders sold by the total number of domestic LPG connections.
BACK IN TIME:Govt eyes limiting LPG supply to households
However, a significant number of households have two or more connections on which they draw cooking fuel as a result of which the total amount of gas actually consumed in each domestic kitchen would be much higher than the catch-all average would have us believe.
A study carried out by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) in Jaipur showed that close to 20 per cent homes in the Pink City had multiple LPG connections.
SEALING THE GAS LEAK
The 40-day cycle has been arrived at by dividing the number of cylinders sold by the number of domestic LPG connections
However many households have two or more gas connections, so amount of gas consumed would be higher
A study by IOC, BPCL and HPCL showed that close to 20% homes in Jaipur had multiple LPG connections
Consumers say one LPG cylinder does not normally last beyond 30 days
Consumers complain of part of the gas being siphoned off from cylinders.
So one cylinder may actually not last for a full month
Calculating according to a 30-day average each family would need 12 cylinders
Many LPG distributors take about 20 to 30 cylinders per household each year, hinting at large-scale diversion of subsidised cooking gas for use in commercial establishments