82 % of 2.4 lakh customers have received Aadhaar card

If you are a non-Aadhaar card LPG customer in Puducherry, you will have to shell out Rs.1,255 per Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder, following the Centre’s decision to increase the price of non-subsidised cylinder by Rs.220 on Wednesday.

LPG dealers have already started charging the new rate as the hike has been given effect immediately.

As per official sources, nearly 82 per cent of 2.4 lakh LPG customers in Puducherry have received Aadhaar numbers and seeded them to their banks.

Others have not received their Aadhaar number owing to technical problems.

Residents who have come to Puducherry from other States in recent past have not obtained the card. Similarly, residents who went to foreign countries including France are yet to visit Aadhaar centres to complete the formality.

This means that more than 45,000 LPG customers in Puducherry are yet to get Aadhaar number. As they are being categorised as non-subsidised customers, LPG suppliers collect Rs.1,255 a cylinder from them. The price of non-subsidised cylinder was Rs.969 in November 2013. The customers are denied LPG subsidy, which is around Rs.500 per cylinder.

The hike in non-subsidised cylinder has received strong opposition from customers. The new rate is being implemented in spite of the Supreme Court’s direction to the Union and State governments not to withhold any social benefits for those who haven’t obtained Aadhaar card. There were incidents where customers argued with suppliers over collecting full price of LPG citing press statements of Union Ministers that Aadhaar was not mandatory for availing themselves of subsidy.

Murugan, secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Puducherry, said that many customers who visited Aadhaar centres long ago were yet to be given the card and number. They couldn’t be held responsible for technical faults or delay in seeding card number. Moreover, oil companies had been collecting full price despite the Supreme Court order.

A senior official of an oil company in Puducherry told The Hindu that all LPG customers in Puducherry were being treated as non-subsidised customers since September 1, 2013. Those who had seeded Aadhaar numbers had become eligible for subsidy. It was being transferred to them through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme. Others would have to pay the full price. However, they could become eligible if they submitted Aadhaar details to their respective banks.