LPG plan picks up, but of no use to beneficiaries

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The nationwide campaign to surrender LPG subsidy is slowly picking up in Jammu and Kashmir, with 7,866 consumers giving up their subsidy so far in the militancy affected state.

The benefit is not reaching poor families as the state has failed to evolve a mechanism to transfer such connections. There are 21 lakh LPG consumers in the state.

The government has set a target of 50,000 below poverty line (BPL) families who are dependent on firewood for cooking, particularly in rural and far-flung areas.The crux of the scheme is that government subsidy should be only for the poor and underprivileged.

For those who can afford to pay the market price, they need to give up subsidy.The state government is yet to implement a foolproof system to link BPL families to the subsidy scheme and there is confusion among consumers.Some consumers had mistakenly given up their subsidy by pressing the wrong button during booking of refill by the new integrated voice response system process mainly done through mobile phones.

Officials have said the problem starts from lack of storage facilities, particularly in snow-bound areas. Consumer data has not been maintained and updated properly by the Consumer Affairs Department during the last few years. There is lack of coordination between the state and oil companies.In Jammu and Kashmir, a total of 5,326 Hindustan Petroleum Corporation consumers have surrendered their subsidy.

This is followed by 1,425 Bharat Petroleum consumers and 1,115 Indian Oil Corporation consumers. There are 203 distributors in the state.Narendra Modi-led government had launched an initiative to encourage domestic LPG consumers who could afford to pay the market price for refill to voluntarily surrender their subsidy.

The government intends to utilise the money generated to reach out to economically backward classes. As per the data, a total of 13.86 lakh consumers across the country have voluntarily given up subsidy.“We are in the process of reaching out to the poor so that they can get the benefits of the scheme. A process will soon be rolled out as the Centre is working on a plan. We are creating awareness among the masses so that people give up their subsidy,” said Minister for Consumer Affairs Choudhary Zulfikar Ali.

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