Government warns misuse of domestic LPG

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Noida, Feb 6 (UNI) The government today said it will crackdown on offenders found misusing LPG meant for domestic consumption under the Essential Commodities Act.

''Due to diversion of domestic LPG cylinders, the Government and Oil companies are forced to add to already heavy burden of subsidy. For the year 2007-08, it is estimated that on all petroleum products the subsidy burden will be about Rs 80,000 crores. Hence it is imperative that this kind of diversion of domestic cylinders for non-domestic use must be arrested at any cost,'' Mr Deora said.

In this context Mr Deora had held a meeting with Maharashtra State Government and top Oil industry officers on February 2nd, at Mumbai to review the LPG supply position including measures to arrest the diversions of highly subsidised domestic LPG cylinders in commercial and automobile use.

Mr Deora attributed the 13 per cent increase in demand for LPG in the recent past to a shortage in gas supply and said the current situation will normalise in the next 10-15 days.

''There has been an increase in demand of around 13 per cent compared to previous year and the market is not able to take it,'' Mr Deora said.

He said getting an LPG cylinder in two days was not possible now.

Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan said there was a pricing issue and this had led to people switching to LPG. Also, some supply and infrastructure constraints in the form of bottling had led to a slackening of supply.

The matter has already acquired political overtones with the Bharatiya Janata Party agitating over the issue and United Progressive Alliance allies expressing concern over the situation.

The Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have blamed the current situation on diversion of domestic LPG for commercial and heating purposes.

UNI PBB/RT BJR DB1900

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