Indian ministers fond of gas – quite literally

Vast amounts of the heavily subsidised liquefied petroleum gas or cooking gas are being used by the country's top politicians and some leading industrialists, the transparency portal launched today by state-owned oil marketing firms showed.

Vice President Hamid Ansari's official residence in New Delhi consumed 171 subsidised LPG cylinders in the fiscal year ended 31 March, or more than a cylinder every two days. Minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur used up 161 cylinders in the period.

Under the rules, households cannot book more than one cylinder every 21 days – and even then, they may have a long wait for delivery. But Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna used 83 standard 14.2kg cylinders at his Mathura Line residence in Delhi alone; while Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajnath Singh consumed 80 cylinders and former union minister M S Gill 79.

The portal showed that industrialist Naveen Jindal's 6 Prithvi Raj Road residence in Delhi received as many as 369 refills, or more than a cylinder a day, through two LPG connections - one in name of his father the late O P Jindal and the other in name of one Radha Devi Rawat.

Oil minister S Jaipal Reddy launched the portal so that people can track their cylinder bookings as well as see if anyone is jumping the queue to get a replacement cylinder. Reddy himself got 26 refills, more than two per month.

"This (large number of refills) shows I am a popular leader," Reddy said half-jokingly. "I get so many visitors everyday ... sometimes 200 to 300. Naturally, gas consumption will be high."