ITANAGAR, 19 Oct: Citizens are grappling with soaring price of domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the state.
LPG has seen a hike of Rs 14.5 in less than two weeks in the Itanagar capital region (ICR). The price of a domestic 14.2 kg LPG cylinder was Rs 950.50 till 6 October, and it is currently priced at Rs 965.
The price of home delivery is an additional Rs 75 for the ICR residents, who claim to have paid Rs 1,040 for delivery charges.
However, distribution charges vary according to the gas company, with some residents saying that they paid as high as Rs 980 for pickup from the godown and Rs 1,000 as delivery charge within the ICR.
At the same time, the price of a commercial 19 kg LPG cylinder has been reduced by Rs 2. Earlier priced at Rs 1,887, a commercial cylinder in the ICR currently costs Rs 1,885.
The price of LPG cylinders in the districts also varies. On an average, in Roing (Lower Dibang Valley), the price of a domestic gas cylinder is Rs 920, while it comes to Rs 1,000 with delivery charges. In Ziro (Lower Subansiri), the pickup rate is Rs 1,000 per cylinder and Rs 1,010 with delivery charges. In Daporijo (Upper Subansiri), the price of a domestic cylinder is Rs 1,000 and increases to Rs 1,200 with delivery charges.
In Namsai, residents there said, the price of a gas cylinder varies from Rs 940 to Rs 961, depending on the gas company, while in Deomali (Tirap), the price of a domestic gas cylinder is around Rs 1,000 and delivery charges depend on the areas, which could add anywhere between Rs 100 and Rs 200 to the total amount.
The government’s subsidy of Rs 420 to Rs 465 has also reportedly stopped for the last two to three months in the state.
While gas agency employees said that they were not authorized to comment on the reasons behind the increasing prices, global prices of propane and butane, as well as foreign exchange rates, determine LPG prices.
They did not know the reasons for the halt on the subsidy amount.
Even as some consumers said that the halt on the subsidy would affect their monthly budget, others said that it did not make a difference to them as their bank accounts were never linked with the gas agencies.
Nevertheless, such hikes in prices are bound to affect the budgets of households, as well as increase the cost of eating out in restaurants that use commercial LPG cylinders, or at small tea shops and roadside eateries that use domestic cylinders.
A family of four in the ICR said that one gas cylinder lasts their family for about a month-and-a-half.
“We mostly eat at home, and the increasing prices will have an effect on our monthly budget and the occasional trips to the restaurants with our children,” the wife said.
On learning that the subsidy amounts are not being credited to their accounts, she said, “We didn’t realize that the subsidy money has stopped being credited to our accounts. We thought it was a delay. If this affects a middle class family like ours, I can only imagine the financial toll it will take on low-income level workers.”
A man from Assam, who works in the capital, said that his gas cylinder lasts him for about three to four months, depending on the frequency of his cooking.
“I am at my office during the day, so I mostly only make one proper meal at night and usually eat my lunch in a nearby canteen. The price hike of gas cylinders does not really affect me but I can understand how it would affect a family,” he said. He, however, pointed out that stopping the subsidy means that he will be paying almost double the amount and he is directly or indirectly losing out on six months worth of cooking gas.
A woman in Namsai said that her family uses both LPG cylinders and wood to cook.
“I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for our family of five. Wood is a good alternative as it is easier to find in the village areas,” she said.