The Central government has launched a country-wide LPG Panchayat as a backup to the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to distribute LPG connections among the rural areas where conventional fuel is used for domestic purposes.
- Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development Dharmendra Pradhan on 23rd September 2017 launched one of the ambitious programmes of the Centre — LPG Panchayat initiative in Gujarat, aimed at encouraging rural communities to turn to clean fuel.
- The Centre plans to organise one lakh LPG Panchayats across the country, where discussions will take place between officials of fuel companies and villagers on awareness and uses of the LPG.
About LPG Panchayat:
- LPG panchayat will serve as an interactive platform for the inheritors of LPG cylinders under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). Moreover, for officials, NGOs and other stakeholders, to identify the issues faced by the rural population for using LPG.
- It also aimed at educating rural LPG users about proper safety precautions to be taken while using LPG, its benefit to the environment, its effect on women empowerment and health.
- The LPG Panchayat initiative will bring together about 100 LPG customers near their living areas on an interactive platform to talk about the safe and sustainable use of LPG, its benefits and the linkage between use of clean fuel for cooking and women empowerment.
- One lakh LPG Panchayats would be activated across the country under the scheme during the next one and a half years. The idea of this platform is to trigger a discussion through sharing of personal experiences on the benefits of use of clean fuel compared to traditional fuels like cowdung, charcoal or wood.
- Though many have opted for conversion to LPG usage, with the target to reach a total of five crore connections, there are those who still have misconceptions that food cooked on LPG stove is tasteless and is not safe.
- Some think wood is cheaper than LPG, some are not sure about its safety and use it only to warm up tea or food for domestic animals. Some have kept it unused and continue with the conventional fuel.
LPG Panchayats would clear all these doubts and misgivings.
- The agenda would also include safe practices, quality of service provided by distributors and availability of refill cylinders.
About the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Rs.8,000 crore has been earmarked for providing 50 million LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
- Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
- Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories.
- The scheme will be implemented over the next three years.
- The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
- India has over 21 crore LPG connections, with 51 per cent reach in the rural areas and nearly 100 per cent penetration across the urban centres.
♦ Pradeep gautam
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons