Election Commission slams government's move to raise LPG quota

The Election Commission has taken exception to petroleum minister Veerappa Moily's statement that the government is in the process of increasing the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders from the current six to nine and directed the government to keep it in abeyance as it violated the Election Code, which is in vogue due to the assembly elections in Gujarat.

Addressing reporters in the capital today, minister for petroleum and natural gas M Veerappa Moily said the government would raise the cap on subsidised cooking gas (LPG) to nine cylinders per household in a year.

"I think it is likely to go up definitely from six to 9," he said.

Moily also said the government will likely provide an additional Rs9,000 crore annually in order to raise the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders to nine from the current six. The minister said he had already discussed the likely impact of the decision to raise the cap on the number of subsidised cylinders with finance minister P Chidambaram.

He said his ministry would seek cabinet's nod for hiking the cap. "We need to take it to the cabinet," Moily said at the CII National Council Meeting in New Delhi.

"We are working on that," he said. "We are working on certain formula to neutralise it," he added.

The government had in September capped the supply of subsidised LPG to six per household in a year. Additional requirements have to be met through purchases at market prices determined by oil marketing companies.

The market price of a 14.2-kg LPG cylinder is currently fixed at Rs931 against the price of subsidized LPG cylinder of around Rs440.