To meet its goal of providing cooking gas to 95 per cent of the population by 2020, the government is reaching out to even the country’s tiger reserves. Soon, state forest departments may get liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) dealerships on nomination basis.
In a first of its kind move, directors of three tiger reserves in Maharshtra – Bor, Tadoba, and Nagzira – will be distributing LPG cylinders. In a similar move, about 98 agricultural and other government co-operative societies in Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Andaman Nicobar will also distribute LPG cylinders. “Traditionally, LPG dealership is not given on a nomination basis to private parties. This is for the first time that oil marketing companies (OMCs) will be planning to allot it on a nomination basis. At least 117 agencies will be given (this facility) through direct allotment this year,” said an industry official close to the development.
Increasing LPG penetration in tiger reserves will also help in curbing the use of wood for cooking. State-run Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation will reach out to tribal communities in these tiger reserves and Naxal-affected areas. This is part of petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s strategy to achieve close to 95 per cent LPG penetration by 2020. From an LPG penetration level of 56 per cent in 2014, the government has been able to increase the level to 74 per cent in 2017. According to a three-year achievement booklet by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, about 38 per cent of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’s (PMUY’s) beneficiaries belong to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe categories.
Currently, there are about 19,000 such agencies in India. Pradhan and his team want to increase this number to 25,000 by 2019 on the back of increasing demand due to the success of the PMUY scheme. This year, the government is allotting about 2,843 agency licences; out of which, 1,029 will be in Uttar Pradesh and 984 will be in Bihar.
The Union Cabinet is likely to take a call on another 30 million LPG connections to be given under PMUY. To reach the 50 million target under PMUY, an amount of Rs 8,000 crore was allocated. The government support for every connection is Rs 1,600. Within a span of one year, the OMCs were able to add 25 million LPG connections across 704 districts under PMUY.
Source Link – Business Standard