March 11, 2021 2:13:19 am
Despite LPG connections in 86 per cent households in urban slums, only half of them use LPG exclusively, resorting to use of polluting fuels such as biogas and firewood as well, according to a study released on Wednesday by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
The ‘Cooking Energy Access Survey 2020’ has looked at urban slums across six states ― Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh ― and 83 urban slums across 58 districts. The six states account for nearly a quarter of India’s urban slum population.
The study has further found that 16 per cent of households are still using traditional fuels such as firewood, dung cakes, agricultural residue, charcoal, and kerosene as their primary fuel and over a third are stacking LPG with these polluting fuels. This increases exposure to indoor air pollution for such households, says the study. There are more than 13.7 million people living in slums in India (2011 census).
The study finds that while the number of LPG connections has increased dramatically over the past decade due to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, exclusive use of LPG is limited to just over half of the total households in urban slums. Drawing a direct correlation between poverty and energy access, the study finds the continued use of polluting fuels, and inability of households to transition to LPG, is primarily because of affordability.
While the government subsidises LPG connections under PMUY, families often cannot afford to buy refills of LPG after the initial subsidy, and fall back on using traditional polluting fuels. Deficient infrastructure leads to households either not having access to electricity or not being able to afford it and therefore resorting to polluting fuels for heating in the winter, negating the positive effects of the LPG.
“Less than a quarter of households in urban slums have Ujjwala connections… There is a need to expand the reach of PMUY,” said Shaily Jha, lead author of the study.
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