Consumer body contemplating legal action against banks

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) consumers of the three oil corporations in the Coimbatore- Tirupur- The Nilgiris regions were a perturbed lot following a Short Messaging Service (SMS) alert sent to their mobile phones asking them to submit details of Aadhaar cards to the LPG distributors and their Aadhaar and LPG details to the bankers.

The State had opposed the concept of direct transfer of subsidy.

The Petroleum Ministry had announced that the direct transfer of subsidy on LPG to the bank accounts directly would be done on a pilot/trial basis in Perambalur, Tiruchi and Pudukkottai districts. In Coimbatore region, the work has begun in Salem, Erode and Dharmapuri districts and will shortly begin in Krishnagiri and Namakkal districts. Linking of Aadhaar details has begun in the districts where the enrolment is more than 40 per cent, sources pointed out.

Bankers, who had access to the database of LPG consumers, were sending bulk SMS to all LPG consumers across the State triggering panic, said B. Rajendra, president of All India LPG Distributors Federation. He said that even those who had enrolled for Aadhaar cards were waiting for it and enrolment in the region was just 20-35 per cent. “Linking the cards to LPG direct transfer of subsidy to the bank accounts of consumers was not possible now,” he added.

Secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause K. Kathirmathiyon said that the consumer body was contemplating on initiating legal action against banks and agencies that were trying to trigger panic by asking for Aadhaar cards when the enrolment process was not completed yet. In the event of such further threats to the consumers, CCC would move the court, he added. .

Enquiries with the Oil Corporation’s revealed that distributors have been asked not to insist on Aadhaar particulars but if a consumer provided the same, the distributors have been asked to take the particulars on record. Sources in the oil corporations made it clear that LPG refills and prices will definitely not be dependent on Aadhaar cards in future until a formal announcement was made in this regard.