NEW DELHI: The government on Friday said that composite transparent LPG cylinder will be a realty in financial year 2016-17.
Speaking at a function to launch round-the-clock centralised LPG emergency helpline number 1906 for the consumers across the country, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the government is working on the modalities for launching composite transparent cylinder but assured it would be a reality in FY 2016-17. The pilot roll-out could begin soon with initial stock of transparent cylinders likely to be imported.
However, the oil marketing companies had issues on the pricing of the transparent cylinder. A transparent cylinder is likely to cost Rs 2,500-3,000, almost double the regular steel cylinder, for which LPG distributors charge Rs 1,400 as security deposit.
However, transparent LPG cylinders to e-tailing 5-kg cylinders are some of the major reforms that the Oil Ministry is pushing for to improve customer service. Currently, LPG cylinders are made of low-carbon steel and the transparent LPG cylinders will be made of composite materials. The ministry expects bids from 110 cylinder manufacturers, which will help in price discovery through competitive bidding.
Amid no transparency, consumers are frustrated at vendors for delivering much less than the promised amount of gas in cylinders which is 14.2 kg. Despite oil companies asking their agency personnel to carry a weighing machine for cross-checking by the customers, often the spring balance is rigged.
Declaring 2016 as the ‘Year of LPG Consumers’, Pradhan said, “We will work to increase accessibility and availability of the cooking in the country. In coming three calender years (2016, 2017 and 2018), we will set an ambitious target to provide clean cooking fuel to entire population.”
The government is striving to make cooking gas available to all household in the country by end of 2018, Pradhan said. He also unveiled plans to roll out online bill payment facility. “The pilot experiment is on. We will launch this service during the 2016 calender year,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 1906 helpline will offer services in nine vernacular languages – Marathi; Gujarati; Bengali; Oriya; Assamese; Tamil; Telugu; Kannada; and Malayalam- apart from Hindi and English.
About the availability of LPG in the country, the minister said that there are 27 crore subscribers in the country, of which 16.5 crore are active subscribers and oil marketing companies cover about 60 per cent of the population.