Blink News Service

Bhubaneswar: The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan is often seen drum beating on the flagship scheme of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) managed by his ministry. However in his own state, the ambitious scheme of Pradhan seems to have failed in striking a chord with the people of Odisha.

Data given by him before the Parliament itself speaks louder about its failure on the ground in Odisha due to several practical reasons. Statistics given by Pradhan in the Parliament claimed that in Odisha lakhs of beneficiaries who received the one time assistance of free LPG cylinders never turned up to refill their cylinders.

Under the Ujjwala scheme, deposit free LPG connection is provided in the name of an adult woman member of a poor family and the beneficiary has an option to avail connection with 14.2 kg or 5 kg cylinder. The existing beneficiary with 14.2 kg LPG cylinder has an option to swap with 5 kg cylinder also.

According to the government data as furnished before the Lok Sabha, a total of 35.5 lakh beneficiaries in Odisha received the free connections from 2016 till December 2018 under the Ujjwala scheme where they got one time assistance of the free LPG connection. However out of the 35.5 lakhs, 12 lakh beneficiaries never returned to refill the cylinders even after one year of getting the connection, hinting as a glaring example of the scheme at this massive scale.

Pradhan himself has confessed failure of the scheme indirectly by citing the poor records of the scheme. In a written reply given in the Lower House (Q. No 182), Pradhan admitted that the LPG consumption under PMUY is very low. “The national average LPG consumption is 6.25 cylinders (14.2 kg.) per annum, whereas annual LPG consumption of PMUY consumer is 2.76 cylinders (14.2 kg),” Pradhan said.

On the matter of lower refilling rates, Pradhan said, “Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have identified low consumption districts in respect of PMUY beneficiaries.  In order to improve the refill consumption in the low consumption districts, OMCs have intensified the customer contact to adopt and use LPG on sustained basis.”

Data from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas claimed that a total of 35,51,904 beneficiaries from Odisha received free LPG cylinders under the Ujjwala scheme by the end of December 2018. Out of this, 12,69,530 (36{59f0624d3ced00d77b8e9232b82192f95dd4883d775ba8cd9379dfd885f08a29}) people have not came back to refill their cylinders at least once. 

Out of 22,82,374 Ujjwala beneficiaries who returned for refilling, only 3,58,433 people have taken three refills, which means only 15.7 per cent people have refilled their LPG cylinders three times in a year while more than 84 per cent of the returning beneficiaries could not afford to take the connections beyond three times a year. In simple words, nearly 16 per cent of the total beneficiaries are actually continuously using the LPG for cooking and majority of the Ujjwala beneficiaries ditched the scheme.   

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