HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Give up subsidised cylinders meant for poor: Oil cos to affluent customers

Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 31, 2014
First Published: 23:08 IST(31/7/2014) | Last Updated: 01:09 IST(1/8/2014)

Do you really need a subsidy support of Rs. 500 per month to run your kitchen or are you willing to opt out of the programme actually meant for the poor and the needy?

Following directions from the Narendra Modi-led BJP government and in order to ensure that subsidies on cooking gas (LPG) cylinders reaches out only to the poor and needy, state-owned oil companies — IndianOil, HPCL and BPCL — are reaching out directly to affluent customers and asking them to give up subsidised LPG cylinders.

“Give up your LPG subsidy and be part of the nation-building movement to provide subsidised cooking fuel only to the needy,” are the messages being sent on your cellphones by oil companies.

Companies are also making use of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

“The results of this campaign are encouraging and over 3,500 customers of Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL (including employees of oil firms) have already responded and surrendered their subsidised LPG connections,” a senior oil ministry official told HT.

There are 160 million LPG connections in the country and the annual outgo on LPG subsidy alone is over Rs. 40,000 crore. A subsidised LPG cylinder costs Rs. 422 (in Delhi) compared to Rs. 920 for a non-subsidised cylinder.

As a decision to hike LPG prices has often led to protests with political ramifications, sources said the government has instead directed oil companies to make use of social media and digital services to reach out directly to customers who can afford to pay the market price for an LPG cylinder.

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