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Saturday, September 30, 2023

LPG cylinder prices hiked by Rs 50 opposition criticizes move

The price of cooking gas (LPG) has been increased by Rs 50 per cylinder, the first hike in almost eight months, according to state-owned fuel retailers. The 14.2-kg LPG cylinder now costs Rs 1,103 in Delhi, up from Rs 1,053. The government does not provide any subsidy to most non-Ujjwala users, who will now have to pay the full price for buying cooking gas refills. The government pays Rs 200 per cylinder subsidy to the 9.58 crore poor who received a free LPG connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which means the effective price for them would be Rs 903 per cylinder. State-owned fuel retailers are supposed to revise rates on a monthly basis in line with costs, but they have not done so since 2020. The last revision of domestic LPG price was on July 4, 2022.

Commercial LPG, used in hotels and restaurants, has also been hiked by Rs 350.5 to Rs 2,119.5 per 19-kg cylinder. Commercial LPG rates have more or less moved in tandem with costs, which soared in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year back. Rates of commercial LPG were last hiked by Rs 25 per cylinder in January.

The Opposition has criticised the government for raising fuel rates, particularly domestic LPG, ahead of the Holi festival. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that the common man is suffering from backbreaking inflation under the Modi government. Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray said this was the Modi government’s Holi gift.

Meanwhile, the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has been cut by 4 per cent in line with the softening international rates of the fuel. Accordingly, jet fuel rates were reduced by Rs 4,606.50 per kilolitre to Rs 1,07,750.27 per kl in Delhi, reversing the hike in rates effected by an equal measure last month.

Petrol and diesel prices, however, have remained unchanged for a record 11th month in a row. Petrol costs Rs 96.72 per litre in the national capital and diesel comes to Rs 89.62. State-owned fuel retailers are supposed to revise petrol and diesel prices daily based on a 15-day rolling average of benchmark international fuel prices, but they haven’t done that since April 6, 2022. Prices were last changed on May 22, when the government cut excise duty to give relief to consumers from a spike in retail rates that followed a surge in international oil prices.

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