BHUBANESWAR: With the ruling BJD in Odisha targeting Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) by describing it as a complete failure, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday reiterated that the flagship programme of the Centre has been a success in the State as proved by its wide coverage.
Responding to a remark by BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during the regional outfit’s 21st foundation day celebrations describing the scheme as unsuccessful in Odisha, Pradhan said, “Your (Naveen’s) statement appears to be devoid of facts and misleading.”
The Union Minister alleged that the CM’s statement seems to be aimed at gaining undeserving attention and divert attention from the State Government’s failure to address the burning issues affecting the poor.
Stating that more than 35 lakh connections have been given under PMUY in Odisha so far, Pradhan said the scheme has played a crucial role in enhancing the number of LPG consumers from 19 lakh in May, 2014 to 72.5 lakh in 2018 in the State. With the recent decision of the Centre to expand the scope of PMUY to achieve universal coverage, Odisha would soon achieve LPG coverage of over 90 per cent from 69 per cent in 2018, he said.
He further said beneficiaries in Odisha have consumed nearly 1.20 crore refills and the per capita consumption is nearly 3.7 refills, which is in consonance with the national average. “Moreover, about 4.2 lakh consumers have taken four or more refills. This clearly indicates a marked behavioural change amongst the common man in Odisha to make a transition towards clean and sustainable source of energy,” Pradhan said.
In Odisha, the subsidy, which is `326.22 per cylinder, is directly transferred to the bank account of beneficiaries through DBTL (PAHAL) to eliminate leakages and role of middlemen. Besides, the oil marketing companies have tied up with common service centres to encourage households to take 5 kg refills, he said.
Requesting the State Government to extend wholehearted support in expanding the gas infrastructure by allotting land for Khurda LPG bottling plant, the Union Minister said improved infrastructure will help make the State smoke-free and cover all households.