Chennai, Jan 18: More than 10,000 tea stalls, ubiquitous to this city, downed shutters today as part of a daylong stir against the rising cost of the commercial LPG cylinders.
The agitation was organised under the banner of Chennai Metropolitan Teashop Owners Association.
More than 90 per cent of the teashops were run by Keralites settled in the city.
The teashop owners also took out a rally and submitted a memorandum to the Tamil Nadu Government, highlighting the problems faced by them following increase in the price of 19 kg LPG cylinder.
Association President V C Damodaran said the tea stalls wanted commercial cylinder to be supplied at a nominal price and on a non-profit basis. The demand came in the backdrop of the steady increase in the price of commercial LPG over the past six months.
The 19-kg commercial LPG cylinder, which was sold for Rs 840 each in August 2007, now costs Rs 1,160, he added.
He alleged that the national oil marketing companies were offsetting the subsidy of Rs 250 on the 14.2 kg domestic LPG cylinder by increasing the price for commercial cylinder. About Rs 500 was estimated to be the profit made on the sale of each commercial cylinder, he claimed.
Admitting that a large number of small teashops were using domestic cylinder until three months ago, Mr Damodaran said the teashops were told to shift to commercial LPG or face criminal action. ''There are about 15,000 teashops in the city, of which 60 per cent are small shops'.