LPG-Aadhaar: Many Still Confused About the Connection
By Sharadha Kalyanam | Published: 13th January 2014 07:26 AM |
Domestic LPG users in the State have to soon get their Aadhaar numbers linked with their LPG gas connections to get supply at subsidised rates.
With hardly 15 days left for the deadline of January 31, only 20 percent consumers in most areas in the city have completed the procedure.
The Union Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Gas sent out a notification on December 31 stating that the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for LPG Scheme has been rolled out in 12 districts in Karnataka — Bangalore, Mysore, Bidar, Uttara Kannada, Dharwad, Tumkur, Udupi, Gadag, Haveri, Koppal, Bijapur and Davangere.
Under the scheme, subsidy on LPG cylinders is provided directly to customers to their Aadhaar linked bank accounts. But confusion looms large in the city.
While the lack of awareness among people on how to get their Aadhaar numbers registered with the banks and gas agencies is one of the major reasons for the confusion many who have registered with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) are yet to get their numbers.
According to the ministry’s notification, “At the end of grace period of each phase, LPG cylinders will be sold to all domestic LPG consumers at market price. However, subsidy will be transferred to only those who have linked Aadhaar number to LPG consumer number...”
Devadas, 60, a cab driver, said, “I am paying `423.50 per cylinder and I still do not have my Aadhaar number. Yesterday, I received an SMS from the gas agency saying I need to submit my Aadhaar number to my distributor and bank to avail subsidy on LPG. There is very little time left and it looks like I cannot benefit from it immediately.”
Avinash Vashishta, who runs a gas agency catering to residents of Padarayanapura, Old and New Guddadahalli said that customers are largely unhappy with the confusion regarding the rule. “Once the Supreme Court issued a direction in September to the Centre asking it not to link subsidies on provisions with the UID system, many people did not bother to get Aadhaar numbers made,” he said.
Each consumer is eligible for nine LPG cylinders at subsidised rates between April and March.
“We are presently getting supply of subsidy and non-subsidy cylinders and we’ve been told that from February 1, we will only get non-subsidy cylinders,” he said.
The rates for this month are `423.50 for subsidised cylinders and `1,265 for non-subsidised.
Vashishta said that only about 20 per cent of his customers have got their UID numbers linked with the gas connections. “Of the rest, 50 percent do not have Aadhaar numbers,” he said.
The situation is similar at Sree Rama Gas Agency, Ramamurthy Nagar and an SMS sent out by the gas agency spread a lot of confusion among customers.
Meghana Gowda, a teacher in a private school in Basavanagudi, said that she learnt about the rule through rumours in school. She applied for her Aadhaar number more than a year ago, but still has not received it and is apprehensive about losing out on the subsidy.
“Gas agencies are compelling us to submit a copy of our Aadhaar document at their office. But I still don’t have one. I have enough LPG supply for the next two months, but after that I think I will have to pay a lot of money per cylinder,” said the resident of JP Nagar.
Her colleagues living in Shankarapuram, Padmanabhanagar, N R Colony and other areas echoed similar worries.
Social activist V K Somashekhar, along with another activist, sent out a contempt of court notice to oil companies saying that pushing for the linkage is a violation of the Supreme Court order, but they received no response. He also said that the government’s strategy is to achieve the target of 600 million Aadhaar registrations by March this year. “The UIDAI tried in various ways to achieve the target, but could not. So, they are now using the LPG services to achieve it. “
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M Veerappa Moily told Express that there is no confusion regarding the matter and that the ministry plans to go ahead with the implementation of the scheme. “If the number of Aadhaar numbers linked to LPG consumer numbers falls too low then, we may extend it,” he said.