By: Vivek Gupta
By using UID numbers, the Food and Supplies Department has identified 35,000 families which were drawing subsidised kerosene in spite of the fact that they had LPG connections. By stopping their supply, an annual saving of Rs 5 crore has been made.
In mid-2014, the department began a survey in order to make Chandigarh kerosene-free on the pattern of Delhi, the first kerosene-free city in the country. The officials were surprised to find that the number of kerosene users was as high as 62,000, whereas in a big city like Delhi the number was not more than 1 lakh.
Soon, the Government of India introduced the Direct Benefits Transfer for LPG (DBTL) users, linking Aadhaar cards with LPG connections.
“With the DBTL scheme, we got a way to find duplication in the system which earlier was not possible to detect due to the lack of any foolproof mechanism,” said Danish Ashraf, joint director of the Department of Food and Supplies.
The department first gathered the list of all those registered under the DBTL scheme in the city. Next, it asked kerosene depots to collect the Aadhaar numbers of ration-card holders getting kerosene.
“When we compared the two lists, common names surfaced which showed that a huge quantity of subsidised kerosene was drawn by those with LPG connections,” Ashraf said.
Under rules, those having LPG connections are not entitled to get subsidised kerosene. Therefore, names of all such consumers were struck off the list. This has brought down the number of beneficiaries from 62,000 to 17,000. Among them nearly 10,000 were those beneficiaries who had single LPG gas connection who were debarred from subsidy with effect from April 1.
“A proposal has been moved to the Central government to give subsidised LPG connections to those left in order to make the city kerosene-free,” said Ashraf. The matter is currently under consideration of the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Food Inspector Sushil Kumar said kerosene consumption in the city had come down from 7.80 lakh litre to 2.76 lakh litre per quarter. This had led to an annual saving of Rs 5 crore, since the Central government bears a subsidy of Rs 33 per litre on kerosene, which is sold to users at Rs 15 per litre.