ISLAMABAD - A crisis-ridden country is likely to face another shock in form of LPG shortage and price hike due to inept policies and slack response of concerned authorities to cater the approaching deficiency at right time. In a country where energy outages coupled with cartelisation in LPG business take place frequently, the nation should get ready to face another jolt of LPG crisis and price hike being cooked by the LPG mafia involve in illegal cartelisation. Though falling trend of prices witnessed at international market yet LPG marketing companies, without any notification from concerned authorities, have jacked up the prices of product by Rs 5 per kilogram adding salt to the already hard-pressed economy of the consumers. LPG marketing companies gearing up efforts to maximise benefits at the cost of poor consumers of remote areas of the country, backed by LPG mogul, by creating cartelisation and artificial shortage, have increased the prices of LPG by Rs 5 per kilogram prior to the holy month of ' Ramzan. Conversely, the LPG price has observed reduction up to $105 per metric ton in international market on 3rd June, sources said. The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Distributors Association on Tuesday demanded of the government to use influence on the LPG marketing companies for not announcing increase in the prices and bound the local producers to produce LPG meeting countrys demand. The Association demanded of the government to revise LPG Production and Distribution Policy for publics benefits. Economic pundits shared with this scribe that people are set to receive another jolt when the full impact of the rise in prices would play with their economy. The people, already groaning from energy outages coupled with double-digit inflation (around 14per cent), are likely to experience yet another increase in prices of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) which is mostly consumed in far-flung areas. According to LPG Distributors Association, the new prices of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) in different cities have jumped up to Rs5 per kg resultantly domestic cylinder have been expansive at Rs 59 and commercial cylinder has jacked up up at Rs227. Similarly, domestic cylinder has rose from Rs 1,090 to Rs 1,150 in Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot. In Dera Gazi Khan, Jhang, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur Faisalabad, Dera Ismail Khan and Sargodha the price of domestic cylinder has been increased from Rs 1,210 to Rs 1,270 and in Murree, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, the price of domestic cylinder has jumped up from Rs 1,210 to RS 1,270. Further, in Bagh, Muzaffarabad, FATA, Azad Kashmir, the price of domestic cylinder has been increased from Rs 1,450 to Rs 1,510 and in Karachi after this self-initiative of LPG marketing companies, the price of domestic cylinder has shown upward trend from Rs 970 to RS 1,030 and in Peshawar the price of per domestic cylinder has been jacked up from Rs 1,150 to Rs 1,210. The unjustified increase by producers in LPG prices would push retail price, if concerned authority, like the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) did not intervene, Chairman All Pakistan LPG Distributors Association Muhammad Irfan Kokhar observed while taking to TheNation. He said with these dishonest practices, the gas mafia earned about Rs 150 million but OGRA remained unmoved. However, this time the authorities concerned should get up from deep slumber to protect the poor consumers of the country. We appeal to the authorities concerned to intervene and fix responsibility of irregularities in the LPG market as LPG marketing companies backed by LPG mogul, failing to learn from past lessons, have created cartels though Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has imposed penalties worth in millions, Irfan added Presently LPG import is zero as this mafia has forced the importer to take escape from the countrys market by artificially decreasing the LPG prices in the country most often. More than ninety LP companies are registered to provide LPG to the consumers but unfortunately around 30 companies have locally produced gas while remaining more than 50 companies are worried where to get gas in the presence of this cartelisation in countrys market, he added. Analysts said that commuters would suffer, when LPG rickshaw and taxis would demand higher fares. Besides, bakeries, confectionaries, shops and hotel owners using LPG would push up rates of their products. Chairman of All Pakistan LPG Distributors Association Abdul Hadi Khan said that a substantial rise in gas prices would hit their sale and create problems for many distributors and marketing companies. Gas producers, he added, have been charging prices without bothering to get any notification from the authorities concerned but the government is watching this as a silent spectator. Over a question, he replied that at present no importer is willing to take risks in front of active and influential LPG mafia in market. The Government should warn the LPG producers to locally produce around 1300 tons per day to meet countrys demand, which at present has fallen to 800 tons. Further, to end the monopoly of LPG producers in market, marketing companies should be given allocations to end artificial price hike and shortage in the country. It is to be noted that reportedly out of 1,600 tons per day demand, the share of auto rickshaws, taxis and some private cars comes to around 60 per cent and domestic and rest is commercially consumed. Currently the production of LPG is 1,100 tons a day and the rest of the demand is met through imports. From January 1 to June 30, around 41,740 tons of LPG was planned to import at the rate of $320-520 per ton. Moreover, some smuggled Iranian 100-120 tons gas per day is also arriving to fulfil local LPG demand.