With no clear cut directives from the oil ministry, gas agencies continue to ask customers to link their Aadhaar cards to bank accounts for LPG subsidy. The Centre had recently increased the annual cylinder cap from nine to 12 and put a stay on compulsory linkage of Aadhaar cards to bank accounts.
January 31 was the last date for linking Aadhaar cards. However, the gas agencies have still not received any notification from the ministry. It is likely that there is another extension for linking the Aadhaar cards.
“We are unclear on this aspect even as the Central government has decided that the linkage will not be compulsory. We have not got any clear guidelines from the oil ministry. So, we have decided to extend the deadline till the month-end,” said an agency official.
“Unless there is a fresh notification during this period, we would have to ask customers to link their Aadhaar cards to the bank to avail of the subsidy or buy the cylinder at market rate,” he added.
With the cap increased to 12 on pro rata basis, till March-end citizens can get 11 subsidised cylinders for the financial year, and those whose cards are linked are getting the subsidy in their bank accounts.
The agencies are following the same guidelines on the linkage. Arihant Gas Agency in Pulgate area has continued to urge customers to link their Aadhaar cards to banks. “With no notification yet, the Central government’s directive could be considering states that have not initiated the process. Customers will get 11 cylinders till March-end, but if the order comes in to waive off the linkage completely, we need a proper guideline on the same,’’ said Bharat Jain of the agency.
Only 22 per cent Puneites have linked their Aadhaar cards with bank accounts for LPG subsidy and if the order does not come, agencies fear there will be a lot of confusion.
The oil companies have clarified that citizens who have availed of nine cylinders so far can get two more subsidised cylinders till March. “Since we are unsure about the subsidy transfer, we did not give any directives on the same,’’ said an official.
Some agencies had even linked the booking system to Aadhaar. “When we call the gas agency booking number, we get a message urging us to link Aadhaar number. When we press the customer ID number for booking, it is not accepted,” said Sushma Jain, a resident of NIBM area.
Citizens are also made to wait for cylinders. “With confusion on the number of subsidised cylinders, there is a delay in delivery. We booked a cylinder almost 15 days ago, but we are yet to get it,’’ said Kannan Shah, another resident.
Even as agencies maintain that whether the government makes it compulsory or not, Aadhaar details already given will be maintained for verification. These can be checked to ensure there is no duplication of connections and subsidy transfer. Currently, a subsidised cylinder is priced at Rs 451, while the non-subsidised one costs Rs 1,182.