* 70% of the country’s households don’t use LPG for cooking
* Litro, COOPFED partner to promote use of LPG among low income groups bundling cylinder with cooker via Rs. 10,000 concessionary easy pay loan scheme
By Dinali Goonewardene
As an estimated 70% of the country’s households cook without Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), a Government initiative was kicked off yesterday to promote the usage of cleaner and healthier energy among low income families via an easy loan scheme.
Spearheading the apparent “LPG for all” drive is the state owned Litro Gas Ltd., in partnership with the Consumer Co-operative Societies Federation Ltd (COOPFED).
Via the network of 305 Co-operative Societies in the country, a bundled LP Gas cylinder and cooker package will be offered at Rs. 10,000 with COOPFED providing a loan with 12 month repayment plan.
At present over 3 million Litro LPG cylinders are in the country and it estimates that only 25 to 30% of the households use LPG as a cooking fuel. Most low income families use firewood since it is freely available. As most kitchens are not designed for proper release of smoke, such cooking has become a health hazard for residents, affecting mostly women and children. Litro said LPG has been proven to be a cleaner, healthier and convenient mode of energy for cooking but the main entry barrier to change from firewood stove to a LPG is the initial cost involved in purchasing a Gas cooker, cylinder and accessories.
At present a Litro domestic cylinder costs Rs. 2, 046 whilst a two burner gas cooker costs around Rs. 8,000.
“The main objective of the partnership between Litro Gas and COOPFED is to break through this entry barrier by offering a special loan scheme to any non user to purchase the bundled package from selected Co-Op societies countrywide.
“Through the Co-operatives societies, the Federation will provide loan facilities at low interest rates to 30,000 members through 305 co-operatives across the country. The loan amount is Rs.10, 000 and repayment is facilitated through 12 instalments,” Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernandopulle said yesterday.
“We are glad the Government took over Shell and renamed it Litro and the new initiative is worthwhile to upgrade Sri Lankan kitchen in rural areas and low income,” Minister Fernando added.
A research conducted by UNDP reveals that smoke released by burning firewood in a closed environment can lead and aggravate asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other lung diseases, Litro said.
Litro Gas Lanka Ltd Chairman Gamini Senarath (left) shakes hands with Consumer Co-operative Societies’ Federation Chairman U.K.D Palitha Rohan after signing the MoU to jointly promote use of LPG among low income households. Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando, Litro Gas Managing Director and CEO Piyadasa Kudabalage are also present – Pic by Upul Abayasekara