Dechen Dolkar  

The prices of commercial and non-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) increased by Nu 235 and Nu 167 per cylinder, respectively, from April 1.

According to Bhutan Industrial Gas (BIG), commercial LPG costs Nu 2,453 in Thimphu.

In March, the price of 19kg commercial LPG was Nu 2,218.

BIG is the only company in Bhutan that supplies commercial LPG.

Similarly, the price of the non-subsidised (green in color) LPG in Thimphu increased to Nu 1,368 per cylinder. In March, it was Nu 1,201.

There has been no change in the prices of subsidised LPG. The prices were revised in March by Nu 51. Subsidised LPG in Thimphu now costs Nu 979. In February, there was no change in price (Nu 928).

However, there was a decrease  in the prices of non-subsidised LPG in February. In February, the cost was Nu 1,139 per cylinder. In January, it was Nu 1,193.

Attributed to price rise in India

The price of commercial LPG has also increased in India, by Nu 250 per cylinder, costing Rs 2,253 in Delhi. In Kolkata, it costs Rs 2,351.

In India, the prices of LPG are revised on the 1st of every month based on the price of benchmark fuel in the previous month.

A non-subsidised LPG cylinder costs Rs 949.50 in Delhi.

Officials from the Department of Trade said that the prices of LPG depend on the prices in India. “When we import, if the prices in India increase, the LPG price in Bhutan also increases.”

With the introduction of non-subsidised LPG in February 2018, many consumers have surrendered their subsidised LPG.

The main objective of introducing non-subsidized LPG is to supplement the existing subsidized LPG quota and to allow its distribution to rural households in keeping with the government’s policy to make clean cooking energy easily available and improve their livelihoods.

The commercial LPG was introduced in 2012 for hotels, restaurants, and canteens.

One of the restaurant owners in Thimphu said that it was very difficult for them to sustain and pay the rent with an increase in commodity and LPG prices.

“The costs of the food will also increase drastically,” the restaurant owner said.

He also said that the 19kg commercial LPG lasts a maximum of only two months.