With only 12% of the total production of pipeline gas lighting up domestic kitchen burners in the country, most domestic users have to rely on alternate sources of fuel, of which liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is one.
Although the government had fixed the price at Tk700, consumers complained that the actual market price of a 12.5kg LPG cylinder has never been less than Tk1,400.
To make the situation worse, a section of retailers has hiked the price of a cylinder by Tk50 to Tk100, to take advantage of the increased demand during Ramadan.
Mashiur Rahman, a consumer from the Satkhira district, said LPG cylinders are not available in the district. “For obtaining a cylinder of LP gas, we now have to pay between Tk1,450 and Tk1,600.”
Mohammad Halim, another user from the Rajshahi district, echoed the same plight: “The government should take steps to curb the exorbitant price.”
A total of five companies supply LPG cylinders in the country: the state owned LP Gas Limited, and privately-owned TOTALGAZ Bangladesh, Bashundhara LP Gas Ltd, Jamuna Spacetech Joint Venture Ltd, and PETREGAZ Bangladesh, popularly known as Kleenheat gas.
According to market sources, the price of Bashundhara LPG increased from Tk1,500 to Tk1,600, Jamuna from Tk1,450 to Tk1,500, PETREGAZ from Tk1,450 to Tk1,550 and TOTALGAZ from Tk1,450 to Tk1,500.
The state-owned LP Gas Limited, a subsidiary of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), is supposed to sell cylinders at the government-fixed rate of Tk700. But consumers said they hardly ever see a cylinder of that company in the market.
The BPC, a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, is engaged in supervising, coordinating and controlling all the activities relating to import, storage, marketing and distribution of petroleum products in the country.
According to the BPC, private companies and the government jointly import a meagre total of 100,000 tonnes against the annual demand of 300,000 tonnes.
Of the 100,000 tonnes imported, private companies import around 80,000, said BPC. Eastern Refinery Limited and Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) jointly produce another 20,000 tonnes locally every year.
The remaining 180,000 tonnes is the annual shortfall in demand.
Expressing his helplessness, BPC Chairman Md Eunusur Rahman said the huge mismatch between supply and demand was the main reason for the high market price.