The petroleum ministry on Monday extended the sale of 5 kg cooking gas (LPG) cylinders at petrol pumps across the country, beyond the four cities originally covered by the pilot project.
Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily "has approved a proposal to extend the scope of the scheme for sale of non-subsidised 5 kg LPG cylinders from petrol stations (petrol pumps/retail outlets) of oil marketing PSUs (OMCs) in other parts of the country subject to the Election Code of Conduct," a ministry statement said here.
"The scheme was earlier launched by Dr. Moily on October 5, 2013 at Bangalore for sale of these cylinders from select Company Owned and Company Operated (COCO) petrol pumps in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore," it added.
COCO pumps make up 3 percent of the 47,000 petrol pumps in the country.
The smaller cylinders will be sold at market rates which are more than double the subsidised price of Rs. 410 for a 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi.
The scheme will be deferred in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where assembly elections are scheduled in November and December.
It will help groups such as students, IT professionals and BPO employees with odd working hours, allowing them the option to pick up cylinder refills at the time of their choice because petrol stations are open for longer hours.
"There is an emerging segment of new consumers like IT professionals, BPO employees who want LPG but in absence of proper proof of address cannot access the same," the statement said.
"This decision is expected to 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," it added.
First time purchase of a 5 kg cylinder will cost Rs.1,000 plus taxes while a regulator will be available for Rs.250 plus taxes.