J-K: New LPG scheme leaves Valley high and dry

  • Ishtiyaq Sibtain Joo, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Jan 06, 2015 19:37 IST

The Centre's direct benefits transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme, Pahal, is proving to be a nightmare for both the distributors and consumers in Kashmir.

The DBT entitles consumers to twelve gas cylinders of 14.2 kg each. However people will have to buy the cylinders at the market price and the subsidy amount will be reimbursed into their bank accounts later.

The LPG distributors in the Valley, with their limited staff, are facing difficulties in updating their records according to the new scheme, affecting supply to consumers.

"I filed my documents and booked gas via internet for which I even have a receipt. However, I have yet to receive it," said Akmal Hameed, adding that he called his distributor several times but to no avail.

The dealers, however, blame the Centre for divising a policy which they say is troublesome for everyone.

"With our limited staff we have to manage the documentation and distribution. We have put 1,500 customers into our DBTL list, however, somehow the data is not syncing with the company's database," said Abdul Hameed Sofi, general secretary, Kashmir LPG Distributors.

According to Sofi the database is displaying names of only 400 consumers. "As per the rule I am supposed to deliver gas to this many consumers only."

"(Moreover) there are still many customers who haven't enrolled for the new scheme. As per the rules, I have to give them a cylinder for `433 only, while persons enrolled under Pahal will have to pay '805. To avoid any scuffle, we are reducing our supplies," said Sofi.

The new deadline for the completion of documents is March 31, 2015.

However, apart from the glitches, the DBTL has elicited a mixed response from the consumers in the Valley.

For instance, Mohammad Ashraf believes the scheme will not allow distributors to siphon subsidies. "Normally people consume nine or ten cylinders a year against the allotted 12. But the dealers take subsidy for all 12," said Ashraf.

On the flip side there are people such as Mohammad Yusuf, who feel paying the full amount is a burden for people from the low-income class.

"The first amount itself is a challenge for people whose income is limited," said Yusuf, who is an auto driver and has yet to enroll for Pahal.

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