Housewives likely to be affected by central government decision to put a cap on subsidised domestic cooking gas cylinders are now taking refuge in modern electrical appliances available in the market to ensure food on the table for the whole family.
With many alternatives like inductions stoves, microwave ovens and solar cookers available in the market, housewives are hard pressed to balance convenience and initial cost as well as monthly expenses of their households on cooking food.
A housewife Mridula Madaan said that she had begun using induction stove along with liquefied petroleum gas to cook food for her family. "A single LPG cylinder is normally used in about a month. Since only six subsidised cylinders will be made available to each household every year, I have no other option but to use the induction stove to bridge the gap," she pointed out.
She is also putting to good use a 'chapati' maker she once bought at an exhibition in Sector 17.
Delving on the benefits of these modern appliances, Mridula pointed out that one could prepare oil-free bread 'pakoras', 'papad' and 'pranthas' on such 'chapati' maker, apart from omelette.
It helps that her family too likes the food she cooks on these appliances. "I love the bread 'pakora' mother prepares on the 'chapati' maker since it is not fried and it tastes great too," said Mridula's daughter Milli.
The cost of induction stove ranges from approximately Rs 3,600 to Rs 6,000, making it somewhat affordable from urban middle class families, said Pawan, owner of a shop in Panchkula that sells induction stoves.
Induction stoves of 2,000 watts capacity consumes two units of power per hour, which approximately cost about Rs 8.
DB Jain, distributor of induction stove company in the city, said that demand for the appliance had increased over a period of time. "Earlier, we used to sell approximately 500 units a month but after the announcement of cap on LPG cylinders, sale has increased by 10-15 % already," Jain said.
A couple Kumar Sharma and Monica, both working in the private sector, were also planning to buy an induction stove. "Our baby is just three months old. So we have to boil water and milk for her a number of times in a day. Since there is a cap on subsidised LPG now, we are going to buy an induction stove," they said.
Ever solar cookers, which did not find very many takers in the past, have become a huge hit among consumers. Harinder Jain, managing director of a private firm dealing in solar cookers, said that there had been a five-fold increase in sales. "Earlier, we sold hardly 10 units a month, but now it has gone up to 50 units," he added.
"We are getting orders even from interiors of Punjab. Consumers are buying it as a gift and giving it to their relatives," Harinder said.
"I have begun using a solar cooker and I am very satisfied with its performance as it saves on time and one need not stand in kitchen. I put raw cooking materials in it in the morning and they are ready by evening," said Babita Jain, a housewife.
With Diwali around the corner, dealers in such appliances are expecting rise in demand.
While the urban households are exploring the available options, those in the disadvantaged sections of society have reasons to worry.
Sudesh, a rickshaw-puller who is putting up in the verandah of Sector 19 shop, rued that he used kerosene oil stove for cooking since he could not afford LPG or induction stove.
"Tel ab mehanga milta hai, par kya karein, khana to khana hi hai," Sudesh remarked.