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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

For first recipient of Aadhaar number, an LPG connection 7 years later

Ranjana Sonawane, a farm labourer, received her Aadhaar number in 2010.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2018 23:41 IST
Eeshanpriya MS
Eeshanpriya MS
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ranjana Sonawane stands near a photo of her getting an Aadhaar number, in Maharashtra’s Tembhli village.
Ranjana Sonawane stands near a photo of her getting an Aadhaar number, in Maharashtra’s Tembhli village.(Kunal Patil/HT Archive)

Ranjana Sonawane hit the headlines eight years ago when she became the first person to get an Aadhaar number. A resident of Tembhali village in north Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district, the 48-year-old mother of three now says the 12-digit unique identity managed to get her one important thing: an LPG cylinder connection.

The household began to use an LPG cylinder for cooking meals only five months ago. “I used to use a ‘chulha’ until five months ago. That is one of the most important things I used the Aadhaar card for. I needed it to register for the cylinder, and the subsidies now transfer to my Aadhaar-linked bank account,” said Sonawane, who received the cylinder connection through the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

Sonawane appears unaware of her distinction. Her husband and three children were also issued their Aadhaar numbers within a fortnight of her receiving it in 2010. “It is just another document for me. My entire family got the cards issued. In our village and in the daily life of my family, Aadhaar card has now replaced ration card. That’s the only change it has brought for me,” she said, referring to the card on which the number comes printed.

Ranjana and her husband Sadashiv are farm labourers and their house doesn’t have an attached toilet. All 1,505 residents of the village, about 400 km from Mumbai, now have Aadhaar numbers. Pravin Virase, the gram sevak, said, “We regularly hold camps to register all our members. All subsidies, benefits of government schemes, such as Indira Awas Yojana or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are linked to Aadhaar. We have two or three-year-old children with Aadhaar numbers.”

On Monday, the gram panchayat organised the latest round of an exercise to fit households with electric meters. However, many houses, including Sonawane’s, remain without a direct electricity connection. Some hutments are still ‘kachcha’ homes, and not all women use LPG cylinders for cooking. Household toilets are being upgraded.

Rajnarayan Thackeray, another villager, is among those who recently received Rs 12,000 as subsidy to construct toilet in their homes. “Aadhaar was needed in this case. As soon as I got it, I began to upgrade my house. I am among the first few who received the subsidy for a toilet.”