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Centre to hold one lakh LPG Panchayats in rural India to promote LPG usage

In its bid to further push usage of LPG cylinders in rural India amongst the beneficiaries who have been allotted LPG connections under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and further popularise usage of cleaner fuel for cooking, the Central government would kick-start its LPG Panchayat from Gujarat on Saturday.

“The average usage amongst the three crore plus beneficiaries of Ujjwala Yojana has been around three to three-and-a-half cylinders per annum, compared to seven-and-a-half cylinders per annum amongst other consumers. We want to understand the problems and issues that are stalling the growth,” Sanjeev Jain, Executive Director, Indian Oil Corporation and State-Level Coordinator for Oil Industry, Gujarat, said.

“Through panchayats, the idea is to trigger a discussion through sharing of personal experiences on the benefits of use of clean fuel compared to traditional fuels as cow dung, charcoal or wood,” he added. 

India has over 21 crore LPG connections, with 51% penetration in rural areas and over 100% reach in several urban areas of the country. The state-owned oil marketing PSUs are served through 82 lakh distributors. Ujjwala Yojana is considered to be a pet project of Prime Minister and is believed to have helped BJP gain traction amongst rural voters, especially women, in the last Uttar Pradesh elections. The Centre is also believed to have informally conveyed its target of raising beneficiaries under Ujjwala yojana in rural areas up to 8 crores by 2019.

“Though many have opted for conversion to LPG usage, with our target to reach a total of five crore connections, there are some who still have the misconception that food cooked on LPG stove is tasteless. Some think wood is cheaper than LPG. We want to take up these issues to popularise the use of LPG,” Sanjay Malhotra, General Manager, LPG Operations, HPCL, said.

The government plans to organise over one lakh such panchayats across the country over next one-and-half years. The agenda would also include safe practices, quality of service provided by distributors and availability of refill cylinders.

The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, would launch the nation-wide ‘LPG Panchayat’ from Isanpur-Mota village of Gandhinagar on Saturday.


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