Andhra govt races against time to replace Kerosene with LPG connections in BPL households by June 8
- The Andhra government aspires to achieve this task by June 8, however, 50,000 families are yet to be reached.
- Government officials are fighting pre-conceptions about the usage of LPG gas cylinders, which is considered explosive among the ill-informed families.
- The target could have been achieved long time back only if the gas agencies had cooperated.
In a race against time, the Andhra Pradesh government is aiming to replace Kerosene with LPG gas connections in all BPL households. Tahsildars have stepped on the gas to ensure that the government's directives to provide gas connections to every white ration cardholder are followed. This will also enable cutting down Kerosene supply, which is said to pollute the environment. In fact, this would be an important step in converting AP into a smoke-free state, which is planned to be achieved by June 8.
The government authorities are now spending most of their time in convincing people from the BPL families in rural areas to switch to LPG connections. They are also fighting pre-conceptions about the usage of LPG gas, which is considered explosive and vulnerable to leaks. Hence, BPL families consider Kerosene as the only safer alternative. The government authorities are now aiming to switch 2 lakh households to LPG under the Deepam scheme in the SPSR Nellore district. The personnel are also arranging funds with the help of local philanthropists to enable the poor among cardholders take gas connection under the Deepam scheme. Despite the perseverance of the officials, close to 50,000 people are yet to be covered till the deadline.
On the flip side, it may render 1.5 lakh families helpless because they will neither be left with Kerosene nor LPG cylinders.
Meanwhile, the state government has been bearing the security deposit of Rs 1,650 toward each cylinder and regulator under the scheme. Nellore joint collector A. MD. Imtiaz, speaking to the Deccan Chronicle, said that the numbers could have been achieved had there been a little co-operation from all the gas companies. Evidently, the gas companies BPCL and HPCL have been demanding advance payment of subsidy. Although the officials have expressed confidence in completing the target before the given deadline, they will continue to supply kerosene to 30,000 households in the district because of a restriction by the Centre against LPG connections to thatched houses.
While that seems to be a good move by the government, there is a flip side that will force one to reconsider the opportunities. The entire process of assigning LPG cylinders to households involves survey, scrutiny, selection of genuine beneficiaries and then allotting the gas connection, which is time taking. Moreover, most of the non-gas connection connection card holders reside in the agency areas of the district. In other words, if the subsidised supply of Kerosene is stopped, close to 1.5 lakh families will have neither gas connections nor Kerosene for their daily cooking needs.