DARBHANGA: Petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday announced free gas connections to dalits and every other backward caste families in Bihar.
“We will provide free LPG to all dalits and backward caste families in Bihar under PMUY scheme,” Pradhan told the media after launching the second and extended phase of PM Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) here.
Under PMUY, it costs Rs 3,200 per connection, out of which half the cost is borne by the govt and the rest is paid in instalments by the consumer.
The minister said previously, the beneficiaries, who paid through instalments, never received the subsidy back into their bank accounts. “In the first six refills, there will not be any subsidy cut. Instead, it will be deposited in the beneficiary’s bank accounts,” he said. Pradhan was accompanied by his cabinet colleague and Union consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan, CM Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi at the inaugural event at Shanti Nayak High School in Darbhanga’s Baheri block. CM Nitish urged Pradhan that PMUY should cover all the families who had no LPG connection in the state. “As the state government has provided dress and bicycles to all school students, similarly PMUY should reach all families. Womenfolk should be the beneficiary of this Yojna,” Nitish said. Nitish welcomed the Centre’s decision under the PMUY to provide free gas connection to women only and called it a step towards their empowerment. PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1, 2016 with an aim to providing LPG connections to those who are still dependent on wood or coal for cooking their food.
Till date, more than five crore LPG connections have been distributed to families under the below poverty line (BPL), as per the Petroleum Ministry’s records.