ISLAMABAD - In the absence of a strict regulatory regime, the LPG mafia has increased the distribution prices of domestic cylinder from Rs 920 per cylinder to Rs 1200 per cylinder during first seven days of the holy month of Ramazan.

The increase has been recorded by 30 percent of the price prior to the start of the holy month, sources told The Nation.

The LPG companies have increased the prices of domestic cylinder from Rs 920 to Rs 1200 during the first five days of Ramazan.

"I can sell the cylinder in Rs 1300 provided that I get it at Rs 1000 or 1050, if the distribution company charges me Rs 1200 how can I sell it on the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority's determined prices," said a LPG retailer in Islamabad.

"In the suburb of the federal capital if the government has failed to regularize the prices of the LPG then imagine about the far flung areas of the country," he said.

During the last seven days the price of LPG cylinder has gone up four times, he added.

OGRA determine the prices of LPG on the second day of every month. The OGRA maximum price for the domestic cylinder of indigenous LPG for the month of April was Rs 1282.23 per cylinder and for May it is Rs 1357 per 1.8 KG domestic cylinder.

As per the order of OGRA clause 3.4.5 of the LPG policy 2016, LPG prices will be regulated with a maximum price at all level of the supply chain.

When contacted chairman All Pakistan LPG Distributor Association, Erfan Khokhar, said that the indigenous LPG producers are increasing the prices without the nod of the OGRA.

He said that the local producers are taking the plea that the Saudi Aramco Contract prices have increased.

He said that it is the exploitation of the consumers in the holy month of Ramazan.

When asked about the OGRA role in controlling the prices, he said that the regulatory body has the power to cancel the licences of such companies which are selling the LPG over and above the OGRA's determined rates.

Besides he said  that under the SOP of the OGRA, the LPG companies are required to write their prices on the gate pass.

This SOP if implemented can stop the black marketing and illegal price increase from the distribution companies.

He has demanded that OGRA should separate the margin of different LPG stakeholders so this way no stakeholder will be able to charge high prices.

He said that if the price hike was not stopped they will start nationwide protest.

When contacted spokesman OGRA, Imran Ghaznvi said that they were not approached by anyone regarding the increase in the prices and if someone complains then the authority will take action against those responsible.