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Mahila Congress to protest against LPG hike

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday targeted the Union government on the LPG cylinder price hike and the party’s women’s wing said it will protest against the government’s decision.

A day after the poll process in Delhi concluded, the prices of LPG cylinders were hiked by a steep Rs 144.50 taking the price to Rs 858.50 per cylinder.

A circular issued by the Mahila Congress President to all state and district units says that “The BJP government has once again hiked the price of LPG gas cylinder which is a big blow to the people of the country who are already suffering due to the severe economic crisis and unemployment.”

The organisation head directed all the units across the country to hold demonstrations.

“The common man relies on fuel for his everyday needs and commute. Petrol prices have skyrocketed under BJP multiple times but not once has BJP assured the people that prices will be controlled. As long as BJP’s divisive agenda is being fulfilled, they don’t care about the people,” tweeted Congress.

The hike on Wednesday is one of the steepest increases in the LPG prices in over five years.

A non-subsidised 14.2 kg cylinder will now cost Rs 858.50 in New Delhi, Rs 896 in Kolkata, Rs 829.50 in Mumbai and Rs 881 in Chennai.

Usually LPG prices are revised on the first of every month, however, amid Delhi election the process seems to have been deliberately delayed.

With the increase, the subsidy burden for the government will also jump by almost 100 per cent with Centre deciding against revising the price of subsidised cooking gas cylinders provided to households and those receiving LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).

The price of subsidised LPG cylinder (14.2 kg) currently works out to around Rs 557 with government providing Rs 157 as subsidy directly into the account of eligible consumers. With the revised prices, government’s subsidy under direct benefit transfer (DBT) to eligible consumers would increase to over Rs 300 per cylinder with the PMUY customers getting about Rs 312 in their accounts now.

An official of a public sector oil company said on condition of anonymity that even the common man using LPG cylinders would not be spared from a price hike as the amount of actual subsidy would not cover for the increase in the GST post revision of prices. This would mean that they would receive between Rs 5-10 less per cylinder into their accounts as cash transfers from the government for buying cooking gas at market price.

Along with 14.2 kg cylinder, the oil companies have also increased the price of 19 kg cylinders by Rs 225 to Rs 1,466 in Delhi.

According to the revised prices, which will be applicable from Wednesday, the 19 kg cylinder will cost Rs 1,589 in Chennai, Rs 1,416 in Mumbai and 1,540 in Kolkata.

LPG cylinders are sold at market prices, but the Central government subsidies 12 cylinders for each household per year by providing direct subsidy.



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