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‘11,000 Goan households still using kerosene as cooking fuel’

PANAJI: As many as 11,000 Goan households are still using kerosene as a cooking fuel, and the government will be providing them with LPG connections under Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana, revealed assistant manager, HPCL, Vaibhav Bhagat.

Addressing media persons, Bhagat along with BPCL assistant manager Mathura Baidya said that till date IOC has released 83, BPCL 314 and HPCL 348 (liquefied petroleum gas) LPG connections, totaling 754 LPG connections under the scheme till December 27 with total North Goa district coverage standing at 129.12 per cent as against the earlier coverage of 112.5 per cent as on April 1, 2016.

While in South Goa district, IOC has released 28, BPCL 4 and HPCL 277 LPG connections totalling 309 LPG connections under the scheme till December 27 and the district coverage stands at 120.2 per cent as against earlier 108.8 per cent as on April 1, 2016, he added.

The officials said that 38.14 per cent have availed benefits under the scheme, those who could not make upfront payment (have no money power) for purchase of gas stove and first refill, were being provided loan facility by the oil marketing companies (OMCs).

They informed that during the course of the survey, it was found that Sanguem and Canacona have more scope for such connections in south while in North, Ponda and Pernem have good scope for extending such connections as many of the residents hail from the lower strata of society.

The government of India had introduced ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ for which budgetary provision of Rs 12,800 crore was made for releasing 5 crore LPG connections to women member of BPL households by March 2019 and additional 3 crore LPG connections by March 2020. The scheme was formally launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh on May 1, 2016.

OMC officials also informed that as per new government directives, the customers hailing from new 7 categories – SC/ST households, beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Gramin Antodaya Anna Yojana, forest dwellers, most backward classes, tea and ex-tea garden tribes and people residing in Islands/river islands will get subsidy for first six refills even if they have taken loan for gas stove, cylinder and other accessories.

It may be recalled that in 2016, as many as 750 households were identified to be without LPG connections by oil companies while trying to make Goa a cent per cent LPG cylinder usage state.

Oil companies said that 750 is a very premature figure as the exercise is ongoing on and the number will be ascertained after physically verifying with households based on ration card information. The deadline will hopefully be achieved, they said.

There are 1.25 lakh families who avail of kerosene allocation, according to the civil supplies department. Officials in HPCL and BPCL, who are working in co-ordination with the department, said that many families that have kerosene allocation also have gas cylinders and therefore the actual number of households without LPG could be a lot less.

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