Sikh shrine kitchens feel pinch of LPG price hike

The recent sharp hike in the price of non-subsidised LPG cylinder by Rs 220 has left Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee with a bitter taste.

The SGPC, which manages majority of Sikh shrines in the country, requires in excess of 100 LPG cylinders every day to run its free community kitchen at Golden Temple in Amritsar alone. Over 200 cylinders are purchased every day to operate kitchens in other Sikh shrines.

The SGPC says it is already dishing out about Rs 1 lakh each day just to buy cylinders at non-subsidised rates for its kitchen at the Golden Temple, and the phenomenal hike in LPG cylinder rates will pinch its pocket, especially given that the exercise is a part of the Sikh tradition for charity.
SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar has shot off a letter to the Prime Minister and the Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily seeking subsidy on these cylinders.

The SGPC’s worry is justified to a large extent, also because the sharp hike in rates of LPG cylinders comes at a time when it was mulling to do away with the use of wood for cooking of food at its kitchens. The kitchen at the Golden Temple alone consumes nearly 5,000 kg of wood each day. The plan is to discontinue the use of wood for cooking since it not only causes a lot of pollution but is also a toll on the environment.

In case, the SGPC has to implement its plan to discontinue the use of wood, sources estimate another 30-odd LPG cylinders are required everyday at the kitchen in the Golden Temple. An IIT-Delhi research team had listed the use of wood as one of the causes for high pollution at the shrine affecting its floor marble and gold plating.

A source said overall cost involved in purchase of over 300 cylinders every single day for all the shrine kitchens after the hike will upset its coffers.

Avtar Singh Makkar’s letter said lakhs of devotees partake in langar at the Golden Temple and other shrines each day.

“Langars are a part of the Sikh tradition. We make an appeal that subsidy should be given on cylinders supplies to the SGPC,” it said.

The SGPC is already purchasing each cylinder at the non-subsidised rate of Rs 1,086 before the recent hike.

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