Cooking gas (LPG) will now be available at select petrol pumps in metro cities after the Oil Ministry has allowed sale of small 5-kg cylinders at retail outlets.
It has also permitted LPG connection portability, allowing consumers to choose or change cooking gas dealer at press of a button, an official statement said Wednesday.
LPG 5-kg cylinders will be available at company-owned- company-operated (COCO) petrol pumps, which make up for just 3 percent of over 47,000 petrol pumps in the country.
However, they will be priced at market rate which is more than double the subsidised price of Rs 410 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi.
Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily will launch the sale of 5-kg cylinder at Bangalore on October 5. Initially, LPG cylinder sale will be restricted to COCO petrol pumps in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru.
Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum together have 1,440 COCO pumps all over the country. The number of outlets in the five cities initially chosen for launch of the scheme would be a few dozen.
"This will be a boon to migratory population such as students, IT professionals, BPO employees and persons with odd duty timings as it would provide them the flexibility to pick up cylinders and obtain subsequent refills at time of their choice as petrol stations are open for longer hours," the statement said.
In another initiative, the ministry has allowed inter- company LPG portability. Presently, an LPG consumer is attached to a distributor and cannot change his distributor even if he is unhappy with the service.
"Under the portability scheme, a consumer can now opt for the distributor of his choice within a cluster of LPG distributors in the vicinity and across the oil companies," the statement said, adding that the scheme would be available in 30 cities.
"Consumers will be able to see the service ratings of all the distributors in their cluster and choose the one they want based on service levels," the statement said.
To make it easier for consumers, the option can be registered electronically on the website of the oil marketing companies they are attached to.
Electronic tracking of the potability request and closure is in place to ensure that a consumer does not have any difficulty in moving to a distributor of his choice.
"This will usher in improvement in consumer service by the distributors as it will bring in competition in the cluster of distributors and bring choice to consumers who want to change their LPG distributor within or across the oil company or want to move to a distributor closer to his home," the statement said.
The LPG portability scheme will be initially available in Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh; Patna in Bihar; Raipur in Chhatisgarh; Delhi; Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat; Faridabad in Haryana; Jamshedpur and Ranchi in Jharkhand; Bangaluru and Hubli in Karnataka.
The other places are: Kochi and Trivandrum in Kerala; Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh; Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra; Bhubaneshwar in Orissa; Chandigarh and Ludhiana in Punjab; Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan; Chennai and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu; Lucknow and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh; Dehradun in Uttaranchal and Kolkata in West Bengal.