Mumbai: State-run fuel retailer Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) expects cooking gas demand to grow by six to nine per cent this fiscal year on the back of lower prices and increasing focus on rural reach.
"We expect cooking gas demand to grow by six to nine per cent this fiscal as we focus more on reaching out to the under-served markets and the rural areas. This is because of the steep fall in prices," BPCL chairman and managing director S Varadarajan told reporters on the sidelines of an industry function here recently.
He said the industry added 50 lakh new LPG customers in the rural areas last fiscal year, but did not say how much he expects this to be this year.
On the direct benefit transfer scheme for LPG (DBTL), he said the industry booked 10-12 per cent savings since the introduction of the direct cash transfer scheme last year.
When asked whether the company will be able meet the LPG demand and how much it will be importing, he did not answer directly.
Last fiscal year, the country imported 8.33 million tonnes of LPG while the total consumption was 18.2 million tonnes. In the previous fiscal year, imports stood at 6.61 million tonnes and total demand at 16.29 million tonnes.
Mr Varadarajan said since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call on the rich to give up subsidy on cooking gas, as many as 6.5 lakh households out of the 150 million have stopped availing of the rebate leading to a saving of around Rs 300 crore in subsidies.
The direct benefit transfer scheme for LPG was launched on November 15, 2014, and more than 130 million consumers across 676 districts are covered under the scheme.