The Centre’s ambitious Ujjwala scheme, which promises free gas connections to poor families, appears to be way behind its target in Uttarakhand.
The scheme, which provides free LPG cylinder connections through oil marketing companies to women belonging to below poverty line (BPL) households was launched in the state in June last year.
Since then, only 2.17 lakh families out of around 4.38 lakh BPL families identified in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 have received benefits of the scheme. Around 2.21 lakh families - or about half of the target – are yet to be brought under the scheme’s ambit.
However, officials said that the exact number of BPL families who are yet to receive the gas connection is unclear as many things have changed since 2011. “Since then (2011), many families have either moved out of their current address or are not traceable. Also, many families have already got a gas connection so they are not being included under this scheme,” MI Ansari, deputy manager (LPG sales) of Indian Oil Corporation, Dehradun, said on Saturday.
The oil marketing companies are currently tasked with the challenge of finding and reaching out to the remaining families. “To ensure maximum coverage, we are trying to reach out to the poor families by holding special awareness camps in villages. We are also carrying out a door-to-door survey and taking help from panchayat representatives,” Ansari added.
In the past one year, the maximum number of free LPG connections (45,405) in Uttarakhand was distributed in Haridwar, while the number of beneficiaries in Dehradun was just 12,861.
Aiming to completely replace firewood with cooking gas, the scheme covers an initial cost of ₹1,600 for issuing a connection against details like Aadhaar card, bank account and address proof etc.