Centre’s Ujjwala takes a toll on K’taka’s Anila Bhagya

Grounded: The state government, in January this year bought one lakh stoves at a cost of Rs 10 crore to be distributed to the beneficiaries of Anila Bhagya scheme.

The Centre’s eagerness to push its flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) - providing LPG connections to BPL families - has rendered the state government’s Anila Bhagya scheme a non-starter.

Though Anila Bhagya was launched in February this year, not a single applicant under it has so far got the benefit – LPG connection, two refill cylinders, a cooking stove and a gas lighter. The Food and Civil Supplies department has received over three lakh applications in the past five months and they are all pending clearance.

Official sources in the Food and Civil Supplies department, who refused to be quoted, said the oil marketing companies (Indian Oil Corporation, Bharath Petroleum and Hindustand Petroleum) are giving top priority to the Centre’s PMUY. Over 12 lakh LPG connections are sanctioned under Ujjwala in the past one-and-a-half year in the state.

“But oil companies are not clearing Anila Bhagya applications despite repeated requests. The Centre wants to take credit by implementing PMUY in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls. So it is blocking the state’s scheme. In fact, people get more benefits under Anila Bhagya than PMUY,” the sources said.

Under PMUY, a beneficiary gets only a free LPG connection, which costs Rs 1,800.

Whereas under Anila Bhagya, a beneficiary gets all tools required to cook, worth Rs 4,200. The state government has planned to cover an estimated 30 lakh BPL families under its scheme.

Concerns on gas stoves

The department is finding it difficult to safeguard cooking gas stoves procured under the scheme.

The government, in January this year bought one lakh stoves at the cost of Rs 10 crore to be distributed to the beneficiaries.

These stoves are now kept in the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation godowns.

“There is hardly any space for storing food grains in the godowns. In many places stoves are just dumped in some corner. There is also a fear of theft. The government has to take up the issue seriously and ensure that the scheme is implemented at the earliest,” the officials said.

When contacted, Food and Civil Supplies department Commissioner T H M Kumar said steps are being taken to sort out all issues with the oil companies and the scheme will be rolled out shortly.

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Centre’s Ujjwala takes a toll on K’taka’s Anila Bhagya

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