Come Saturday, three petrol bunks will start retailing the compact, non-subsidised 5-kg cooking gas cylinders.
Described as a customer-empowering initiative by the Union Petroleum Ministry, the move is expected to benefit those coming for a short stay in the city.
While college students, IT professionals and those accompanying patients will typically form part of the customer list, the cylinder, as consumer activist T.Sadagopan pointed out, will come handy for small family functions too.
But what remains unnoticed are two aspects: the 5-kg cylinder is a lesser known product already available with select cooking gas distributors of Indane, Bharat Gas and HP Gas and secondly, it is expensive. The price of a refill, which is subject to monthly revision, now is Rs.504 in Chennai.
Sources among cooking gas distributors said though there is considerable sale potential, the customer response has been poor, presumably due to lack of awareness. It is available with about 15 cooking gas distributors of the three companies in and around city and together they would be selling around 600 cylinders a month, a distributor said.
This despite the oil companies not insisting on elaborate documentation, something that is a must for subsidised cooking gas. The initial cost for the customer will be more.
The (one-time) cost of the cylinder, regulator and a suraksha tube, inclusive of value added taxes, would be a little over Rs.1,600. In addition, the customer needs to pay Rs.504 for the LPG.