Yet another price hike in LPG cylinder leaves many frustrated

From the traditional earthen stoves to modern solar power systems, Delhiites consider alternative ways of cooking as gas prices blow up by 30% since the last year

Photo: Unsplash

The prices of LPG cylinders inflated to a whopping Rs 1,053 earlier this month. This hike has cumulatively added to the price hike of LPG in the last year to Rs 244, thus burning a larger hole in the common man’s pocket. 

While the poor women beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme will pay Rs 853, others will pay Rs 1,053 for a 14.2 kg cylinder. 

“I don’t know what this government wants from us. We only want the basic facilities to be affordable so that our future, our children’s future isn’t compromised while we spend all our savings merely on our survival”, says 48-year-old Suman Bidoriya, a homemaker from East of Kailash. 

She states that the prices affect the poor more than the rich, which is why their woes go unheard and the administration barely takes note of the rising dissent brewing over LPG among the lower income groups. 

Bidoriya is a single parent of three and manages the finances all by herself with little help from her in-laws. After losing her husband to a road accident in April, she had filled out the forms to avail the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. However, she has been stuck in the bureaucracy for over a month now. 

“There was trouble with the documents. I am illiterate; my husband used to handle everything. So, I have to rely on others to help me out. Neither the government is ours, nor the people. It’s just me and my children. I want them to grow and have bright futures, but rising prices of food and fuel are making things difficult”, she says.

Date Price of LPG cylinder 14.2 kg Growth in %
1 July, 2021 834.5 3%
17 August, 2021 859.5 2.99%
1 September, 2021 884.5 2.99%
6 October, 2021 899.5 1.69%
22 March, 2022 949.5 2.99%
7 May, 2022 999.5 2.99%
19 May, 2022 1003 0.35%
6 July, 2022 1053 4.98%

An LPG cylinder for a household of four members lasts for almost two months. For busy restaurants, it lasts for less than a month. With the way prices have been on the rise, without any sign of slowing down, an average household will end up spending Rs 7,000 on average annually on LPG cylinders only. 

Kishore Rastogi, a 38-years-old salesman and father of two, expresses his frustration with the rising prices. “The last time I got an LPG cylinder, I paid Rs 953. Paying almost 1,100 for another cylinder just shakes up the household budget. We can’t afford to keep agreeing to the rising prices. When will it stop? In lockdown (June 2020), the gas cylinder was for Rs 700 or so, and we were promised that the prices will be reduced once the pandemic is under control. But nothing happened. Now, they are blaming the Ukraine-Russia war. They will just keep blaming, and we will just keep paying”, he says.

Not only homemakers but those who use LPG cylinders for a major part of their businesses have been affected. Santosh, who works at one of the eateries in Rajouri Garden, says, “The owner sometimes gets frustrated that we exploit the use of LPG cylinders at the restaurant, and ends up blaming us when it gets over too soon.” 

He adds that the owner will be switching to large chulhas (earthen stove) starting next month – something that several other households across Delhi are considering.

Engineer Mayank Bhatia, a resident of Rajouri, says that he will be going for the solar power systems. “Delhi already gets a lot of heat, which is good if you have a solar power panel installed in the house. That way, one can use an induction cooker to cook smaller items. The electricity bill won’t be affected largely either if you have a solar power system to use induction cooker, electric egg cooker, electric fryers and rice cookers, roti-making machines and other appliances”, he says. 

Munni Shaikh, a domestic helper working in Amritpuri will be switching to chulha once the cylinder she is using gets over. “Pagal hain jo har bar 1,000 de dein? (Are we mad enough to pay Rs 1,000 every time?)”, she asks mockingly. 

She works as a cook for eight people and earns Rs 1,500 from each of them. My monthly income is Rs 12,000, and my husband has been unemployed since the pandemic. If I pay Rs 1,000 for a gas cylinder, how do I manage other charges – expensive pulses and grains, petrol, children’s education, and so on? Chulha hi theek hai. (A stove is more convenient). I’ll get the wood for cheap as well. And, we are used to chulhas because that’s how we grew up cooking our food”, she says. 

 

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Senior Sub Editor | + posts

Jayali Wavhal writes stories about gender, lifestyle, environment and civic issues.