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Smokeless initiative hits hurdles

Staff Correspondent
SHILLONG, April 23: There are many hurdles for oil companies to complete the task of providing free LPG to households in 11,076 villages in Meghalaya, said State Nodal officer SS Thankiew. He, however, said that the work is afoot to complete the task within May 5 this year. As part of the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has directed all Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to provide gas connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to all households (1,96,000) in these villages. Addressing newsmen on Monday, the State Nodal Officer wishes to complete the process as per the prescribed date, if the beneficiaries have required documents like the Scheduled Tribe certificates, ration cards, EPIC etc.  The biggest hurdles in Meghalaya are that most of the heads of households do not have Scheduled Tribe Certificate or ration cards under the BPL category.
“As per our experience and feedback received during the awareness campaign it has been realized that the main issue in carrying out this scheme is unavailability of SC/ST certificates and bank accounts,” said Thankhiew while appealing to the people to avail the facility. Yet he mentioned that they should have a zero bank balance account in order to ensure that the subsidy on their refill reaches their bank account. The other aspect is the awareness programme that does not reach the beneficiaries from the administration, observed The Sentinel.
Meghalaya has just 29 per cent of population using LPG, thereby being one of the states that is not part of the smokeless initiative. There are only 2.52 lakhs who are with LPG connections.

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Ankur Kalita