Cooking gas consumers can now change their dealers as the government has launched liquefied petroleum gas portability scheme on the lines of mobile phone services.
However, unlike cellular services where consumers have the option to switch between different mobile companies, LPG consumers would have the limited option of changing only their dealers, not the oil company.
So, if you are a consumer of Indane gas from Indian Oil Corporation, you now have an option to choose from Indane Gas dealers in the locality.
But you cannot switch to Bharat Gas of Bharat Petroleum or HPGas of Hindustan Petroleum.
"LPG distributor (dealer) portability is being launched in Chandigarh on Friday and will be extended to at least 25 more districts in the next fiscal," Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily told reporters in New Delhi.
The scheme would be extended all over the country in a phased manner. "A pool of 2 to 3 dealers would be cleared for every locality in the district. Consumers will have the option of choosing from this cluster," Moily said.
A ministry official explained, meanwhile, that inter-company portability was not legally possible for the time being as the law provides for a LPG cylinder belonging to a particular company to be submitted to only that company for refills.
"We are looking at the possibility of changing law or creating a situation where the consumer returns the cylinder to that particular company before availing of a new connection from a different company," he said.
Moily announced launched new IT/web enabled initiative, Lakshya, to enable consumers book and track refills online as well on mobile phone.