Despite various reforms and initiatives, the call to switch from subsidised to non-subsidised cooking gas has not worked well to date.
In the last three months, 2,091 subsidised LPG were surrendered and 3,411 non-subsidised gas availed.
The Department of Trade (DoT) yesterday issued a notification stating that it would lift the supply of subsidised gas from the four thromdes starting next year.
Chief trade officer of DoT, Rinchen Lhazom said the department did everything to address the shortages of susidised LPG but failed to convince the users.
Some measures were stopping the issuance of new subsidised LPG connections in four thromdes, discontinuation of local service providers who deliver subsidised LPG, stopped bulk lifting of LPG cylinders by agencies and institutions and calling volunteers to switch.
However, she said that the appeal saw no positive response from the consumers and parliamentarians. “Since there is no other alternative, the department decided to lift the subsidised LPG.”
Economic affairs minister, Loknath Sharma said that despite efforts to encourage the use of non-subsided gas, not many consumers turn up to switch.
He said that an income survey showed that households in thromde areas were found better off and that a majority could afford to use non-subsidised LPG compared to those in rural areas. “Those residing in thromdes are found to be above the poverty level, and the supplies of subsidised LPG are targeted to the lower-income household.”
Though there are some underprivileged households in thromde areas, he said that there was no other option but to go with the new solution.
The difference in price between subsidised and non-subsidised is Nu 192.
“The switch will begin from January, 2020. We are giving six months time to prepare for the new reform,” he said.
Besides, Lyonpo said that the ministry would encourage other cooking modes like electric cookers in thromdes where electricity supply is more consistent. “We are encouraging rural households to use biogas and improved cooking stoves.”
He said that the dependence on LPG was not consistent. “It is time to focus on other alternatives because the supply of LPG is limited and not sustainable in the long run.”