Although the Minister of Trade has admitted that the lightweight premium cylinder introduced by Litro Gas to the market is fraudulent, Litro Gas Company is still supplying the same cylinder in large quantities outside Colombo, Lankasara learns. The company had supplied premium gas cylinders to gas dealers and sub-dealers in the Kandy area through its wholesale distributors and it was observed at several locations that it had supplied three 12.5KG cylinders for a genuine weight of 7 cylinders.
In the absence of 12.5KG cylinders, some customers who came to get gas left without buying and search for another agent while the majority of consumers were compelled to buy so-called “premium” low weight fraudulent cylinder as they have no option. The fraudulent gas cylinder is said to have 18 litres of LP gas and weighs 9.7 kg. Although the price of a cylinder is 100 rupees less than the average 12.5 kg cylinder, the consumer has to pay more than a kilo of gas compared to the amount of gas available. The cylinder, which was introduced without the proper permission of the Consumer Affairs Authority, caused a great deal of controversy in Parliament.
Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena acknowledged that the sale of the gas was fraudulent and was carried out by a state-owned Litro company and stressed that it was mandatory for the 12.5 kg cylinder to be available in the market.
However, Litro Chairman Anil Koswatte denied the allegation that the cylinders were being supplied to the market in short supply. He said that the demand for Litro in the market has increased as Laugfs is not releasing enough gas to the market due to the current price crisis. He added that Litro, which already has a market share of 60 to 65 per cent, has grown further due to the shortage of Laugfs and that the 12.5 kg cylinder sells rapidly.
However, he said that this fraudulent cylinder will be available in the market in the future as well. He said that Litro currently intends to supply gas without any shortage and requested that the 12.5 kg cylinder be available on the market or with the location and time of Litro’s 1977 hotline.