OMCs to sell LPG in 5-kg cylinders at retail outlets across India

The government has extended the sale of non-subsidised LPG in 5-kg cylinders at outlets of oil marketing companies across the country, after the successful run of a pilot programme in five metro cities.

Minister of petroleum and natural gas M Veerappa Moily has approved a proposal to extend the scope of the scheme in other parts of the country, subject to the election code of conduct.

This means the roll-out of the scheme will be deferred in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where assembly elections are being held in November and December.

The scheme, launched on 5 October, initially allowed the sale of LPG in 5-kg cylinders through retail outlets owned and operated by oil companies in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru.

This decision to extend the scheme will benefit the common man as sale of 5 kg LPG cylinders at market price with minimal documentation would facilitate easier availability of LPG at more selling points.

''The sale of 5-kg cylinders will be done (equipment + product) at non domestic rates with / without regulator for the first time by charging Rs1,000 plus applicable taxes for the cylinder and Rs250 plus applicable taxes for the regulator.

The cost of product and refills, ie, cost of LPG, will be as per non-domestic rates applicable in the market,'' according to a petroleum ministry statement issued on Monday.

The smaller refills will be sold at market rates, which are more than double the subsidised price of Rs410 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi.

The scheme will be of great help to the emerging new consumer segment that include students, IT professionals, BPO employees who want LPG but in absence of proper proof of address (POA) cannot access it.

Also, because of their highly irregular work timings, they may not be able to visit the distributor or be at home to receive cylinders during normal working hours.

For some consumers, the need is in small parcels or arises at odd times of the day when distributors may be closed.

The scheme will also be a prelude to making sale and distribution of LPG on purely commercial basis.

Company owned and operated outlets make up for 3 per cent of the 47,000 petrol pumps in the country.

Retail outlets not owned and operated by the oil companies may be included in the scheme, subject to statutory clearances, the ministry release said.

Such petrol pumps have to fulfil the safety norms and conditions provided in the scheme.

Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum own and operate a combined 1,440 outlets across the country.