Andhra to give additional cooking gas cylinders only to poor

Andhra to give additional cooking gas cylinders only to poor

 The Andhra Pradesh government today left majority of LPG consumers bitter as it announced the much-hyped "Dussehra gift" only to a select few in the form of additional cylinders on subsidy.

Only those families that got LPG connection under the Deepam scheme, launched by the previous Telugu Desam Party government, will get additional three cylinders per annum at the subsidised price, according to state Civil Supplies Minister D Sridhar Babu.

Briefing newsmen at the end of a review meeting with Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy here this evening, the Minister said, 39.71 lakh below poverty line (BPL) families were currently having LPG connections given under the Deepam scheme.

"The oil companies don't have data related to other BPL families using LPG. Hence we have decided to extend the subsidy only to Deepam connection holders," he added.

In all there are 1.60 crore LPG consumers in the state and the average consumption is 5.25 cylinders per annum, as against the national average of 5.5 cylinders.

The total number of LPG cylinders consumed in the state per annum is 8.4 crore.
The state government is currently bearing a subsidy of Rs 210 crore at the rate of Rs 25 per cylinder to all consumers as it absorbed the hike announced by the Centre three years ago.

Though the Congress high command asked the party-ruled governments to provide three additional cylinders at the subsidised price after the Centre's recent limit on supply of subsidised cylinders, the Andhra Pradesh government decided to extend the benefit only to Deepam beneficiaries.

The additional financial burden on account of this would be Rs 634 crore per annum, Sridhar Babu said.

"There are no specific instructions from the Congress high command on the additional cylinders. It only asked the government to take a decision depending on the situation in the state," the Minister replied.

Though he pointed out that the Congress-ruled Delhi government was extending the subsidy (on additional cylinders) only to BPL families, Sridhar Babu said the Andhra government was unable to follow suit as there was no specific data related to such families using LPG.

"But we will try to give LPG connections under Deepam to more families. It's a dynamic process," the Minister added.

Asked whether or not the government would continue to bear the Rs 25 subsidy per cylinder (to all consumers), the Minister said there was a discussion going on, on the subject.

"We will soon take a call on it," he said.

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