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New Delhi: To help improve service, state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) will allow their customers to choose the domestic cooking gas distributor for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder refills.

India had 28.74 crore LPG consumers as on 1 January, 2021. This move comes in the backdrop of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, a government programme that aims to provide free cooking gas connections to poor families increasing India’ LPG coverage to 99.5% on 1 January this year from 61.9 % as on 1 April 2016.

Ministry of petroleum and natural gas in statement on Thursday said, “it has been decided to allow LPG customers to have a choice deciding which distributors they want their LPG refill from. Consumers will be able to choose their “Delivering Distributor" from the list of distributors catering to their address within their Oil Marketing Company (OMC). In the pilot phase, which will be launched shortly, this unique facility will be available in Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Gurgaon, Pune, and Ranchi."

“The facility of Online Transfer of LPG connection to another distributor serving in the same area has been provided to LPG customers through respective OMCs web-portals as well as their Mobile Apps," the statement said.

With Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana said to have contributed to Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in March 2017, its ambit was expanded to include 80 million poor families.

“While booking a LPG refill through mobile app/customer portal using registered login, the customer would be shown the list of delivering distributors along with their performance rating shall be displayed. The customer can opt for any of the distributors from the list applicable for his/her area to get an LPG refill delivery. The service will not only empower the customers by way of enhanced choice, but also inspire healthy competition amongst the distributors to provide the best-in-class services to the customers and improve their performance ratings," the statement said.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, launched on 1 May, 2016, aims to safeguard the health of women and children. While the clean fuel protects them from the hazards of inhaling smoke, it also helps the poor avoid going to unsafe areas to collect firewood.

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