With lakhs of Kolkata residents yet to receive their Aadhaar cards given the slow pace of generation and despatch of UID cards,confusion prevails among LPG consumers who have been given the deadline of January 31,2014 by the petroleum ministry to link Aadhaar numbers to their bank accounts to avail subsidy on LPG cylinders.
State home secretary Basudeb Banerjee convened a meeting Wednesday with the nodal agencies like ECIL and ITI at the state secretariat to assess the progress of Aadhaar card enumeration.
The progress was found slow in several districts,where it has been decided to provide more manpower and resources so that 100 per cent population could get Aadhaar number by February next year.
A recent petroleum ministry notification said that from November 1 this year,domestic LPG cylinders will be sold at market price and consumers would get cash subsidy in advance in their Aadhaar linked bank accounts. Consumers who are unable to complete formalities by November 1,will receive subsidised LPG cylinders till January 31 next year,and after that they will have to pay the market price for the cylinders, a senior official said.
Amitava Barua,in-charge of the Aadhaar generation and despatch in the KMC area,said,100 per cent card generation and despatch would not be possible by January 31,2014. So far,about 27 lakh Aadhaar cards have been generated and around 24 lakh of those have been despatched. At least 20 per cent of the addressees have not yet received the cards due to various reasons.
LPG distribution companies in West Bengal,meanwhile,there is bound to be some confusion.
The oil companies are supposed to give us the forms for distribution by September 15. We will have to ensure that consumers submit the forms with enough time in hand to roll out the system on November 1,which is a very difficult task, said Sukamal Kumar Sen,secretary,Bharat Gas Distributors Welfare Association (Eastern Region).
He said that there was a huge number of people who had not received their Aadhaar cards.
At the moment,the consumers must ensure that if a connection was in the name of someone who had passed away,it should be transferred to someone elses name so that the Aadhaar number could be linked with his or her bank account, he added.
Sushanta Mukherjee,president,West Bengal LPG Distributors Forum said they would wait for some more time before making any move.
MP Rajiv Shukla had earlier said that Aadhaar would be one of the options and not a must. Statements from the political leaders are changing everyday and so we are waiting for a final verdict, he said.
Another distributor of a leading LPG company said that there was hardly any enthusiasm among consumers. That government may have to extend the deadline to the end of this financial year as the consumers would have brought the allotted nine subsidised gas cylinders within 10 months of the current financial year,ending January and would buy the remaining ones at market rates anyway, he said.
Many such as Bijan Behari Biswas,general secretary,Indane Distributors Association said that there was no specific guidelines of the Direct benefit Transfer of LPG Subsidy (DBTL) scheme and they were getting stumped by certain questions by consumers.
Bengal eightH in AADHAAR generation
While Andhra Pradesh is leading with 6,93,53,561 generated so far,Maharashtra followed closely with 6,61,75,408 and West Bengal with 2,18,12,096 stood at the eighth position.