Not many takers in state for free LPG connections for poor

Not many takers in state for free LPG connections for poor

Only 50,000 of 1.32 crore BPL homes apply for Central scheme

Not many takers in state for free LPG connections for poor

The Centre’s flagship scheme to distribute free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, has received a lacklustre response in the state.

In the last one month, only about 50,000 BPL households have submitted applications to the three state-owned oil marketing companies -- Indian Oil Corporation  Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, seeking free LPG connections.

Free connections will be given in the name of woman member of the BPL families under the scheme, which was launched by the Centre in May this year.

The Centre is using money saved by it under the Give-It-Up scheme (giving up LPG subsidy on refill cylinder) to fund the scheme.

The beneficiaries under the scheme need not pay the deposit amount of Rs 1,600 for getting new connection. But the cost of refill cylinder and gas stove has to be borne by the beneficiary.

The oil companies, which are tasked with the responsibility of achieving 100% LPG coverage, are now in a fix as they are finding it tough to identify the beneficiaries.

Officials of the oil companies are wondering why the eligible families are not coming forward to take the free connections though statistics show that about 31 lakh households are still using traditional fuel such as firewood and kerosene for cooking purpose.

As per the 2011 socio-economic caste census report, which is being used as the basis by the Centre to identify the beneficiaries under the scheme, Karnataka has 1.31 crore households.

Of these, about 42 lakh come under the BPL bracket. The report also says that the LPG coverage is 74.8 % in the state. The Centre has set a target for itself to achieve 100% LPG coverage in three years.

The officials said that there is either discrepancy in the BPL data or the census report has become outdated. There is a possibility of large number of BPL families having obtained LPG connections much before the announcement of the scheme.

Besides, the officials said those who had given wrong information at the time of census despite possessing LPG connection may be shying away from submitting the application under the scheme, fearing that they might be caught. For, a beneficiary has to submit Aadhaar number to get free LPG connection, the officials pointed out.

Yadgir at the bottom
As per the data collected by the oil companies, Yadgir, Koppal and Bidar districts
are at the bottom of the list of poor coverage of LPG in the state.

The oil companies have listed 13 districts where the coverage is low and, priority will be given families in these districts while issuing free connections. Kalaburagi, Raichur, Bagalkot, Gadag, Vijayapura, Haveri, Chikkaballapura, Tumakuru, Chitradurga and Chamarajnagar are the other districts in the list.

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