Stop meddling in LPG price fixing process: Consumer rights groups to govt
Consumer rights groups and business operators today demanded an end to the government's interference in the price fixing process of liquified petroleum gas (LPG).
They urged for determining a single regulator to play the role of watchdog in ensuring a fair price of LPG at the consumer level by protecting the interest of the consumers as well as the operators of the business.
They made the call while participating in a public hearing convened by the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) at BIAM Auditorium in the city.
BERC was forced by a High Court order to hold the public hearing to avert a content motion filed by the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB).
BERC Chairman Abdul Jalil presided over the hearing session while other members of the commission were present.
In the hearing, a BERC technical evaluation committee (TEC) presented its report on both private and public companies' proposals.
The TEC suggested fixing the price of a 12kg LPG container of private companies at a maximum of Tk 954 and minimum of Tk 758 against the current price of Tk 1,259. It recommended fixing price of state-owned companies' 12.5kg container at Tk 902 by giving a cross subsidy of Tk 300 on the current price of Tk 600.
Although the TEC made the recommendations, the BERC will take the final decision and fix the price.
Prof M Shamsul Alam, advisor of the CAB, Ruhin Hossain Prince of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Mohiuddin Ahmed of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Consumers Association, among others, took part in the public hearing.
"Interference of Energy Division in LPG price fixing process is a clear violation of the BERC Act 2003 which gives a clear mandate to the energy watchdog to fix the prices of 25 petroleum items including this LPG," said Prof Alam.
He said the regulatory body was forced to hold the public hearing to re-fix the LPG price after facing a contempt of court proceeding following a writ petition by the CAB.