The price of cooking gas , or non-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas, was hiked by at least Rs 144.5 per cylinder on Wednesday because of an increase in benchmark global rates of the fuel. This is the steepest increase in rates since January 2014, when prices had gone up by Rs 220 per cylinder. However, the government decided to almost double the subsidy it provides on the fuel to keep the outgo per cylinder almost unchanged, PTI reported.

Non-subsidised LPG cylinders will now cost Rs 858.50 in Delhi, Rs 896 in Kolkata, Rs 829.50 in Mumbai, and Rs 881 in Chennai, according to Indian Oil Corporation, which supplies cooking gas under the Indane brand. Till Tuesday, the cylinders cost Rs 714 in Delhi, Rs 747 in Kolkata, Rs 684.5 in Mumbai and Rs 734 in Chennai.

The government would pay a subsidy of Rs 291.48, up from Rs 153.86 per cylinder, to domestic users. The subsidy has been increased from Rs 174.86 to Rs 312.48 per cylinder for those have enrolled for the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Usually, LPG prices are revised on the first of every month. But this time it took almost two weeks for the revision to be announced because of approvals needed for such a big jump in subsidies.

The government’s decision was criticised by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who chastised it for taking a “cruel decision”. He said the move would affect crores of poor, and hard-working people already facing “severe inflation”. “It would have been better had the Centre worked as a welfare state as embodied in the Constitution,” she tweeted.

The Karnataka unit of the Congress lashed out at the Narendra Modi government. “When the country is reeling under severe crisis of unemployment and financial distress Narendra Modi has shocked the people with a massive hike in LPG price by upto Rs 145,” she added. “This is the biggest hike in one shot. We condemn this hike as this will burden the people.” The All India Mahila Congress will protest across India on Thursday, ANI reported.