Senior officials of the three major LPG suppliers - Indane Gas, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Bharat Gas - told this newspaper that they had an instruction from their respective head offices to get the maximum number of customers to link their Aadhaar cards to enjoy the subsidy.
An official said that as part of the drive, mobile text messages were being sent to LPG consumers to submit their Aadhaar cards. There is no coercion whatsoever. This is taken up to avoid misuse of subsidy, he said.
If the unique identification number is not provided, there is a chance of misuse in availing subsidy for more than one connection. The drive is a positive attempt to reduce manipulation, the official added. Even schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana need Aadhaar card, he pointed out.
A consumer, however, said the text message he received did not make it clear if linking the Aadhaar card was optional. An HP representative said 70 per cent of the company’s customers had linked their Aadhaar cards and that they had not received any particular directive on the plan of action for those who did not have the card.
According to the statistics collected from the three major gas suppliers, around three lakh LPG consumers have given up their gas subsidy voluntarily which, the Central government says, would be used to provide gas connections to the economically weaker sections.
Out of the three lakh customers, over one lakh have given up the subsidy in Bengaluru alone. Indane Gas, which has half of the State’s LPG connections, said 1.32 lakh LPG users (65,538 in Bengaluru), nearly one lakh users of Bharat Gas (20,000 in Bengaluru) and 78,000 users of HP (25,000 in Bengaluru) have given up the subsidy.
Karnataka has nearly one crore registered domestic LPG connections.