Mumbai: With over 64 lakh women securing LPG connections within five months of the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala scheme, the oil marketing companies (OMCs) hope to achieve the target of reaching out to 50 million users before the deadline of three years.
Under the scheme, which was launched in May, the government provides LPG connections to poor women along with assistance over a period of three years. The eligible families are identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 data.
“The Ujjwala scheme has been highly successful. While the government has been aggressive on this front, the response from the rural segment has been good. We think we would meet the targets before three years,” said a senior official from one of the OMCs, on the condition of anonymity.
Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states with 24.7 lakh beneficiaries, followed by Rajasthan (10.5 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (7.3 lakh ) and Bihar (6.5 lakh).
The government has earmarked a budget of Rs8,000 crore for the scheme. The scheme will provide financial support of Rs1,600 for each LPG connection. The identification of eligible families, as proposed in the Budget for 2016-17, will be in consultation with states.
“India has a total of 17.5 crore LPG connections so far against 13 crore two years ago. Had a better infrastructure been in place, we could have been working on a more ambitious target,” said an LPG director with one of the OMCs, on the condition of anonymity.
“Various steps are being taken to augment existing facilities and more avenues are being explored for developing new LPG import terminals in the country both by the oil marketing companies and the private operators,” said Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL), in an emailed reply.
Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL) did not respond to Mint’s email till the filing of the report.
To meet the increasing demand for cooking gas or LPG in the country, the three OMCs—IOCL, BPCL and HPCL—are planning to set up a 1,450-kilo metres pipeline to service central India.
The pipeline will emerge at Kandla port or Mundra port, both in Gujarat, and will run via Bhopal, Kanpur and Lucknow to terminate at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The total cost of the pipeline would be around Rs5,000 crore and the pipeline would be set up under a joint venture in the next three-four years.