Poor response to subsidised gas connection scheme in Sinhagad area

Jan 15 2013, 01:43 IST
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SummaryOnly 21 families opt for scheme launched to dissuade villagers from chopping trees in forests.

Only 21 families opt for scheme launched to dissuade villagers from chopping trees in forests.

The ambitious scheme of the state forest department to provide subsidised LPG connections to villages surrounding Sinhagad area that was announced in March last year has failed to evoke desired response.

Only 21 families have opted for the scheme even as the aim was to reach out to 300 families. The forest department had launched the scheme to dissuade villagers from chopping trees in forests for firewood.

“Lack of requisite documents have caused delay in enrollment. The families do not have Below Poverty Line documents which has made it difficult for us to issue connections. We are doing our follow-ups,’’ said Nitin Kakodkar, Chief Conservator of Forests (Pune).

The scheme was open to both BPL and Above Poverty Line (APL) families. Under the scheme, the BPL families are required to pay 25 per cent and APL families 50 per cent of the total charges.

The state government had earmarked Rs 1.27 crore to implement the scheme and overall development of Sinhagad Fort area. The state aimed at recovering the expenditure through toll collection from vehicles visiting the fort.

The forest department has listed the names of the beneficiaries but await documents that are mandatory to avail the connections. “The process of including the remaining families in the list of beneficiaries is on,’’ said a forest official.

Each connection will cost around Rs 5,000 and the beneficiaries will have to pay according to the subsidy offered to them. Another hurdle that the officials are facing is to convince the families who are aware they would lose out on some of the ration card benefits if they opt for subsidised connections.

As part of the development plan, the state government had set aside Rs 22 lakh for beautification of Sinhagad area including renovation of the roads and other amenities in the area.

With the fort seeing a large number of visitors, a lot of renovation work had been carried out on internal pathways, forest rest house and repairs of railings.

The repair work on the 9-km road is complete and is open for visitors.

The department also plans to build biodigester toilets at the fort and focus on plantation and build check dams for soil and moisture conservation.

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