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States' tax sops fail to lower LPG price
June, 16th 2008

Consumers continue to pay a higher price for cooking gas after some states announced partial price roll-back. Cooking gas dealers, who instantly increased price of domestic LPG by Rs 50/cylinder from the midnight of June 4, were not as spontaneous when it came to a downward revision of price. There has been instances in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa where consumers had to pay a higher price despite state governments relief offer.

A survey conducted by ET in the three states which witnessed a price roll-back found that consumers have been paying different prices in different locations. We have paid Rs 346/cylinder, even after the state government announced a Rs 40/cylinder price roll-back. We confronted the delivery person as well as the dealer and they said that they knew about the price hike of Rs 50/cylinder but they didnt have any instructions regarding the roll-back, a housewife in Chandini Chowk area said.

People from Vikaspuri, Janakpuri and Patpatgunj shared similar experiences. In Mumbai, dealers took consumers for a ride even after the state reduced duty by 4%. In Babulnath area, consumers had to fight with the dealers who were not willing to reduce to the Rs 13.92/cylinder state relief from the hiked price of cooking gas.

In Parel, dealers stopped supply for a couple of days to get an official notification from the state government regarding the roll-back and in Byculla dealers are continuing selling LPG without any reduction.

When contacted, All India LPG Distributors Federation representatives said that they hadnt reduced the price till June 9 in Delhi, as they had received the notification only then. They added that they sold cylinders for Rs 345 because they had to buy it at higher rates after the hike.

In Goa, despite the states announcement related to partial roll-back, confusion persisted for a couple of days. Price of a cylinder was increased to Rs 358 on June 5, but now they are charging Rs 346/cylinder, a housewife in Davorlim (Mudgaon) said.

Public sector oil companies ,who supply LPG to Indian households, said that dealers in certain areas had bought LPG stocks at the increased price on June 5 and they pushed cooking gas in the market at the increased rate - factoring in Rs 50/cylinder increase - till the stock exhausted.

We have not received any formal complaint. Strict action would be taken against any dealer found over-charging customers, a senior official of one of the oil companies said.

When contacted, All India LPG Distributors Federation representatives said that they hadnt reduced the price till June 9 in Delhi, as they had received the notification only then. They added that they sold cylinders for Rs 345 because they had to buy it at higher rates after the hike.

 

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