HYDERABAD: The state civil supplies department (CSD) is on a war footing to ensure a kerosene-free Hyderabad, but have no plans in place yet to bring LPG cylinders to the poor in the city.
“We are doing a survey at the nine circles where kerosene sales at Fair Price Shops (FPS) will be stopped. Only after the survey can we know how many people cannot make the shift to LPG under the Deepam scheme,” said M Padma, chief rations officer (CRO). Only after the survey can the the CSD formulate a plan, she added.
As on Monday, there were 1,47,253 number of Food Security Card (FSC) holders without LPG connection. “Most of these people surely will have LPG connections with independent dealers. The survey will help us weed them out,” said the CRO.
The department has in recent weeks sent Deepam Scheme application forms to all FPS in the nine circles, but so far 59,147 food security card holders are yet to enrol under the Deepam scheme. The department officials expect these numbers to come down to approximately 20,000.
The hidden charges
M Sharada works as a house keeper and is a BPL card holder with a family income of `12,000 a month. She uses kerosene for cooking and was unaware about the impending ban on the oil. Asked if she could afford switching to LPG, she said, “I will save money and switch to LPG.” But when the hidden charges were explained to her, she said, “It will be difficult to manage but if they ban kerosene what other option do I have?”.
Under the Deepam scheme, the deposit for the LPG is fully paid for by the state government to the oil companies. The gas regulator is also provided free.
However, the start up cost for transition to LPG remains high. A 14.3 kilogram LPG cylinder priced under Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG (DBTL) cash transfer would cost `811.50. With subsidy of `342.5 being credited back to the FSC holders bank account, the cylinder would cost `469. “This is affordable for many BPL families in Hyderabad,” said Padma.
“A family of 4 people requires about 20 litres of kerosene a month. If they buy it from outside that would cost them `40 to `50 per litre eventually costing the family `800 to `1,000 a month. But a cylinder costs just `469 with subsidy,” the official added.
However, the Deepam application form used by the CSD urging people to subscribe to the scheme does not talk about the hidden charges. The refill, suraksha tube, inspection, administration charges, installation, domestic gas consumer card all amount to `1082.50.
A general circular with a note saying ‘Gas refill costs is subject to change every month’ was pasted at the CRO office premises but not at the FPS..