With the increase in LP gas prices, middle and lower income families have begun to use firewood or kerosene for their cooking, a Sunday Times survey revealed.
A cross section of these families in Colombo and its suburbs told the Sunday Times that it was difficult to continue using gas due to its high cost, while firewood vendors said that demand had increased after gas prices went up.
Gamini Perera, a firewood seller in Dematagoda, said that many of the small restaurants in town buy firewood from him, to control production cost. He further explained that, with the limited space within households, it is hard to use firewood instead of gas, but despite these difficulties, people buy firewood from him at Rs. 500 for a 50 kg stack, he said.
“We do not use gas at all, and use firewood instead, because it is cheaper than gas. If we use gas, then we have to increase the prices of our goods by 100%, in keeping with our production cost,” said Mr. Abeysinghe, a food shop owner.
C.P. Roshan, another restaurant owner said that they use gas and firewood simultaneously, a practice that was started when LP Gas prices were last increased.
Mrs. Priyadharshani, a resident of Kotikawatta said that, even though using firewood is not convenient, they are compelled to use it, as prices has risen all round and they are compelled to do so. She further said that, even the price of firewood was increased, when the LP gas price was increased. Now, 25 kg of firewood is Rs. 200, whereas it was Rs. 175 before. She said that many of the houses in the area use both gas and firewood to minimise cost.
“We use gas for cooking and firewood to boil water, or else a gas cylinder will not last a month. But even firewood is not cheap now. The problem is that, while the cost of living soars, our salaries remain the same,” lamented Mrs. Roshani Dhammika, an attendant at the National Institute of Mental Health.
As a way of damage control to the ever rising cost of living, households are now using kerosene oil for their day-to-day cooking, along with LP gas for selective cooking.
“Many middle-income families have a separate kerosene oil cooker, as there are no concessions given to consumers. We pay more and more and buy less and less,” said Mr. R. Gunaratne, a private sector employee.
The price of a 12.5 kg LP gas cylinder was hiked by Rs. 350 in early May, and now the new price of the cylinder is Rs. 2,396.