An advertisement by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the day’s newspapers on linking LPG subsidy to Aadhaar card for Kolkata, Howrah and Coochbehar districts with immediate effect, created panic among LPG consumers with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatening to gherao the IOC office here if the order was not withdrawn.
Even as Mamata demanded that the Aadhaar must not be made compulsory to receive LPG subsidy and called for immediate review of the move, PTI quoted a senior Indian Oil Corporation official seeking to allay her and the consumers’ apprehension that subsidy for those not having Aadhar would be discontinued.
“All household consumers, irrespective of whether seeded with Aadhaar card or not, will continue to get LPG subsidy,” PTI said quoting IOC executive director Andrajit Bose as saying.
He said IOC was the co-ordinator for all oil PSUs in West Bengal so there was no reason for apprehension for HP Gas and BP Gas consumers also.
However, the current system of subsidised LPG cylinders for non-Aadhaar linked consumers would be valid only for the next three months, he said.
The IOC official said customers who had already linked their Aadhaar number with the LPG distributor and banks for cash transfer, would be mandatorily migrated to the new system. In other words, linked consumers would buy cylinders at the market rate and the subsidy would be transferred to their bank accounts directly.
Moreover, government would transfer an average subsidy for LPG in advance to the bank account when the consumer booked it for the first time in the new system. Customers would continue to get subsidies at the time of delivery for nine cylinders in a year.
Earlier in day, Mamata had said Aadhaar must not be made compulsory as “only 15 to 20 per cent of the people have received the card.”
Reacting to the advertisement she said she was “shocked to see this attitude of the (central) government” and sought to know how it was violating a Supreme Court order on the issue.
Stating that many people have not yet got the card and were being harassed by government agencies, Mamata said that the Centre should make a single identity card which would be common for all purposes.
“At present there are so many identity cards issued by the government, from ration card to PAN card to Aadhaar card, that people will have to hire a locker to keep all the cards,” she said.
She was also