Domestic LPG customers and consumer activists in the city are a baffled lot, thanks to continued efforts by oil companies to link Aadhaar card to gas subsidy, ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court and the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which said that Aadhaar card should not be linked to subsidies.
A Supreme Court bench had in September, 2013, passed an interim order that no citizen should be denied government benefits for not possessing Aadhaar card. In November, 2013, the A.P. High Court had held that subsidised cooking gas for household purposes should not be curtailed in the name of Aadhaar card. “Someone should file a contempt case against oil companies for flouting court orders. The oil companies, which are not State-controlled anymore, continue to pressurise consumers by sending messages through phones and distributors. They have already increased the cost of a cylinder to over Rs.1,000. ” asks senior consumer activist and Consumer Care Centre founder N. Ganesan. Efforts to link Aadhaar card to LPG in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts, however, appear to have worked. According to officials, the seeding of Aadhaar card and gas connection is 85 per cent in both districts.
“We have come across several cases where the LPG subsidy amount has not been deposited in the bank accounts of consumers despite having the Aadhaar card linkage. There is lack of clarity,” says Mr. Ganesan.
Oil company authorities in Hyderabad continue to maintain that they have not received instructions from their respective headquarters on the issue. There appears to be no relief for customers, as oil company officials point out that all court cases that have challenged the Aadhaar card status in various States have been ‘clubbed’ and will come up for a final hearing in the SC later this month.