Despite SC restrain order, ad says subsidy will be denied to those not linking unique ID to bank account

There is confusion among many people in Mangalore following recent advertisement issued by the Union Petroleum Ministry stating that domestic gas consumers, who have not opted for Aadhaar cards, will have to pay the market price (Rs. 1,200) for a domestic LPG cylinder. Consumers point out that it gives the impression that linking of Aadhaar is mandatory contrary to an interim order of the Supreme Court.

The advertisement published in a few Kannada newspapers on December 31 said the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG consumers (DBTL) has come into force in Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu from January 1. It asks LPG consumers to link their Aadhaar to their bank account and inform LPG dealers. Though there were three months to the “deadline”, the advertisement says that those without Aadhaar would have to get domestic cylinders at the market rate. This, many consumers pointed out, was against the Supreme Court order.

“This is a vague advertisement and does not mention a word about the Supreme Court order (that restrains the government from denying any benefits, including LPG subsidy, because of absence of Aadhaar). There is a threat of denial of subsidy to those without Aadhaar,” said Sridhar Acharya, an employee of a public sector undertaking.

He was among the 150 persons at an enrolment centre on the 2nd floor of a commercial complex in Lalbagh on Thursday. Mr. Acharya took half day’s leave to enrol, along with his wife and son. But Mr. Acharya was disheartened by the long queue and he returned. “There is no other choice but to come again tomorrow. I need to avoid paying the market price,” he said on Thursday. This enrolment centre has been, on an average, dealing with nearly 150 applications per day.

There were many like Mr. Acharya waiting to get enrolled in Mallikatte. “I am forced to come here as there is a threat of denial of subsidy. There is no word in the advertisements that Aadhaar enrolment is optional (as said by the Petroleum Ministry before the Supreme Court),” said Briyan D’Souza, who was in queue with his wife. “I have been standing here for the last two hours,” Mr. D’Souza said. He was among the 60 persons to be enrolled on Thursday at the Mallikatte centre, which has three computer terminals.In a meeting called by the district administration in December, it was stated that 8.71 lakh people had been issued Aadhaar and 9.52 lakh people had registered with NPR (National Population Register – an initiative of the Union Home Ministry) and that there were 3.7 lakh LPG connections.

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