Centre-Odisha squabble intensifies over Ujjwala Yojana progress

Bhubaneswar: The squabble between the Odisha government and the Centre seems to be intensifying over Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).

While the state government in a letter had cited that lack of dealers is acting as a roadblock in achieving the desired target of new LPG connections under PMUY, the centre has reverted asking Odisha government to streamline and expedite the process of granting various certificates to the beneficiaries so that the applications for new connections could be processed quickly.

The row has surfaced on implementation of PMUY under Extended Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (EGSA) in 10 ‘aspirational’ districts of Odisha.

In his letter to the Union Petroleum Ministry on the progress of PMUY in the aspirational districts, Odisha Chief Secretary wrote, “In the 10 target districts, on an average one BPC dealer is dealing with 15 villages, one IOC dealer is dealing with 17 villages and one HPC dealer is dealing with 14 villages. There appears to be a need to increase the number of dealers.”

However, in response to the letter, Joint Secretary of Union Petroleum Ministry wrote that there are 803 LPG distributors of OMCs in Odisha and 435 new distributorships are at various stages of commissioning.

Citing these numbers, the Joint Secretary, mentioned “It has been reported by the OMCs that substantial number of KYC applications could not be processed under EGSA period due to non-availability of certificates. Timely issuance of the required certificates like SC/ST certificate, forest dweller certificate, ration card by the district administration and related agencies is critical for achieving target.”

Amid such exchange of exchange of letters, the ruling-BJD in Odisha and BJP, which is leading the NDA government at the centre have targeted each other.

“The poor staying in the forest don’t even have forest dweller certificates when there are guidelines to provide them. So why the State government is not providing the certificates?” Odisha BJP vice-president Samir Mohanty questioned.

On the other hand, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra responded saying “If 6 lakh people are refilling out of 30 lakh beneficiaries who have taken new connections, then where have the other 24 lakh beneficiaries gone? Isn’t it a failure of the scheme itself?”

As per data, while 3, 12, 305 applicants in the 10 aspirational districts of the State have submitted their KYC details, only 2,18, 671 have received new LPG connections.