LPG Coverage Reaches 96.9% As On Jan. 1: Oil Minister Pradhan
There are about 27.5 crore liquefied petroleum gas or cooking gas connections in the country and the coverage has reached 96.9 percent as on Jan. 1 this year, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
"We have 27.5 crore LPG connections in the country. Of which, 8 crore connections have been done under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana," Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.
Responding to a query on lower LPG connections in Bihar, the minister said the state had achieved 22-23 percent coverage when the scheme was launched. Now, the penetration has increased to 75 percent in the last five years. "LPG business began in the last 65 years. In 60 years, we were able to achieve 22-23 percent coverage. But in last five years, the coverage has increased to 75 percent. Bihar is one of the major beneficiary states of the PMUY," he said.
The initiative to provide more LPG connections in Bihar in the future will continue, he added. Responding to another query if the government will take special measures to provide LGP connections in Naxal areas of Chhattishgarh and Jharkhand, Pradhan said the objective of PMUY is to provide cooking gas facility in most remote and backward areas of the country.
The average penetration of LPG connections in these two states was 20-25 percent. However in the last five years, it has increased to 75 percent in Chhattisgarh and 77 percent in Jharkhand, he added.
To another query if the government has plans to allot cooking gas agencies or petrol pumps to people losing their kerosene business on promotion of LPG connection, the minister said kerosene, cooking gas and petrol pump businesses are different.
"The demand for kerosene at a subsidised rate is coming down. Those engaged in this business can look at other avenues," he said adding kerosene was given when there was no other fuel but things have changed today.
The minister also said that kerosene distribution is a state subject and the state governments can take a decision on mandatory stamping of ration cards to mark the existence of a LPG connection, for Direct Benefit Transfer of kerosene to a ration cardholder.
With a view to map the database of consumers with LPG connections and getting kerosene, the central government has requested states to share details of consumers drawing public distribution scheme kerosene with oil marketing companies. Further, the updated LPG data base is available with National Informatics Centre for use by state governments for mapping with the kerosene data base, he added.