Long queues in front of gas agencies for seeding Aadhaar number to avail of subsidised gas cylinders have vanished with the Union government putting on hold the Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) consumers
The oil companies are also no longer talking of a February 28 deadline in the State for the rollout of DBTL while they have instructed the gas agencies to increase the number of subsidised gas cylinders to be given to consumers from nine to 12 in a year.
The government has made Aadhaar linking voluntary and no deadline for the process exists now, a senior official of an oil company told The Hindu.
However, the Union government’s flip-flop has put the gas agencies in immense trouble. Hardly anyone comes to seed Aadhaar with gas agencies these days. As of now, those who haven’t seeded their Aadhaar with banks and gas agencies stand to gain, as they can take home a cylinder by paying just about Rs. 500.
On the other hand, those who seeded their Aadhaar number on government instruction have ended up having to pay the full market price and then wait for the subsidy component to get credited to their accounts, which is often erratic, said A.R. Venugopal, who has been running a gas agency for close to three decades now at Tripunithura.
“Cash Transfer Compliant (CTC) customers under DBTL are experiencing a wide range of problems from delay in receiving the subsidy component to transfer of subsidy to wrong bank accounts.
The distributors have no role in these issues but it’s often we who end up at the receiving end of the consumers’ ire. Even CTC consumers argue with the distributors that they should be given gas cylinders at the subsidised price at which they are being given to consumers who are yet to become CTC. We are facing a lot of problems as a result of government’s ambiguity with regard to Aadhaar linked DBTL,” he said.
While the Union government has put on hold the rollout of DBTL, it had not issued any directions restoring the universal distribution of subsidised gas cylinders as was the case before DBTL was conceptualised.