CM asks Centre to allot LPG dealership to WSHGs

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has asked the Centre to directly allot LPG dealership to viable Women Self-Help Groups (WSHGs) under the newly launched Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitarak (RGGLPGV) programme. In a letter to the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jaipal Reddy, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the women groups would get financial benefits if they were directly given dealership.

"There is no provision under the RGGLPGV scheme to give distributorship directly to the women self-help groups either on their own or those operating under the `Shakti Gaon` project," Patnaik pointed out. On the other hand, Patnaik pointed out that further restrictions have been imposed by the Oil Marketing Companies on the SHGs limiting their area of operation within 15 km radius for delivering LPG cylinders.

As a result the DSMS (district suply and marketing society) which has been operating its extension counters through the SHGs beyond 15 km of radius have been put to inconvenience, Patnaik told in the letter to Reddy.

"While welcoming initiative of the ministry for LPG distribution in rural areas, I will request kind intervention for allotment of LPG dealership to the economically viable WSHGs directly and remove the present distance restrictions imposed by the Oil Marketing Companies for LPG distribution and new connections so as to provide sustainable income to them," Patnaik said.

Highlighting steps taken by his government in strengthening the SHGs and their achievements in different fields, the chief minister said that WSHGs have emerged as a movement under the aegis of Mission Shakti. Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS), a state level apex marketing body took initiative back in 2003 of marketing LPG in rural areas through WSHGs in the districts of Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj under the project Shakti Gaon. Shakti Gaon project is a joint venture IOCL/BPCL and DSMS, the district unit of ORMAS, Patnaik informed Reddy.