Ballia: Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said 10,000 new LPG distributors will be appointed in the current financial year.

“At present, there are 18,000 gas distributors in the country and in the coming three months, 2,000 new distributors will be made and by the end of this financial year 8,000 more distributors will be made," Pradhan told reporters.

Pradhan was in Ballia to oversee the preparations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on 1 May to launch Ujjwala Yojana. The ambitious 8,000 crore scheme will provide 5 crore free LPG connections to BPL (below poverty line) families using the money saved from 1.13 crore cooking gas users voluntarily giving up their subsidies.

Modi will launch the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in Ballia on 1 May and do a repeat function at Dahod in Gujarat on 15 May. Pradhan said 61% households in the country have LPG connections, while in Uttar Pradesh 53% houses have gas connections.

Besides increasing production in refineries, the government is taking other steps to increase availability of LPG for consumers, Pradhan said.