Consumers will continue to get subsidised LPG: Minister

If you are one of those consumers who has been worried about the SMS sent by LPG suppliers telling you to furnish details of your Aadhaar card to get subsidised cooking gas, you can relax now. Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday told the Legislative Council that consumers would continue to get subsidised LPG cylinders even if they do not have Aadhaar cards.

Replying to BJP member Ramachandra Gowda who drew the Minister’s attention to the concern and confusion among consumers over messages sent by LPG suppliers linking cooking gas supply to Aadhaar cards, the Minister pointed out that the Supreme Court had recently ruled that Aadhaar was not mandatory for getting subsidised cooking gas cylinders. However, the oil companies and the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had filed an appeal in the apex court, which is pending disposal.

‘State has no role’

Mr. Rao made it clear that the proposed scheme of linking cooking gas supply with Aadhaar was that of the Union government and the State had no role in it. However, the State co-ordinators of the oil companies had informed the State government that the supply of subsidised cooking gas to consumers would continue irrespective of whether they have Aadhaar or not.

However, Aadhaar was required if the consumers wanted the subsidy to be given under direct benefit transfer, the Minister said.

He said consumers could even take up the issue with the consumer courts if they were denied supply of cooking gas cylinders for not having Aadhaar cards. Following a demand by the members, the Minister also told the House to bring cases of non-supply of LPG for not having Aadhaar cards to his notice.

Goonda Act

Replying to Janata Dal (Secular) Floor Leader M.C. Nanaiah, the Minister said he was seriously considering the possibility of using the provisions of the Goonda Act against those who illegally divert rice meant for distribution under the subsidised Anna Bhagya scheme to the black market.

Seventy-one cases of diversion of subsidised rice to the black market had been detected and action had been initiated against 65 persons. This includes three members of the staff of the Food Department and two contractors, he said.

As part of the efforts to prevent misuse of subsidised foodgrains, the government had decided to increase public awareness on the Anna Bhagya scheme. Accordingly, it had been decided to make it mandatory for all fair price depots to open their shops from the first day of the month till the 10th, starting from February 1. The shops should also put up boards displaying details regarding the scheme.

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