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 on Wednesday.
LPG 5-kg cylinders will be available at company-owned- company-operated (COCO) petrol pumps, which make up for just 3 per cent 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.