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July 10, 1999
AP launches subsidised LPG scheme
Shireen in Hyderabad
In an apparent bid to woo women voters on the eve of the elections to the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assembly in September this year, the Telugu Desam government on Friday launched a Rs 1 billion scheme to provide one million cooking gas connections to rural women in the state.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu formally inaugurated the 'Deepam' scheme at Chittoor.
His cabinet colleagues participated in functions to mark the launching of the scheme in their respective districts.
Though the state government had planned to release at least 100,000 connections on the inaugural day, the target could not be achieved due to logistical problems and non-availability of adequate number of gas stoves and cylinders.
Liquefied petroleum gas dealers could manage to make available only 40,000 gas stoves all over the state.
At several places, lists of the beneficiaries could not be finalised by the district authorities, according to reports.
Under the scheme, the state government bears the deposit of Rs 1,000 per connection as a one-time grant. The beneficiaries have to bear the cost of gas stoves and the recurring cost of refills, which works out to Rs 169 for a 14.2-kg cylinder. They also have to bear the installation and administration charges.
The three public sector oil companies -- Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited -- are implementing the scheme. The Indian government agreed to provide one million LPG connections for the scheme.
In the first phase of the scheme, villages which are within a radius of 10 kilometres from the mandal headquarters are to be covered. Villages up to 15-kilometre radius from the mandal headquarters will be covered in the second phase.
The new connections are being provided through the existing network of 498 LPG distributors of the three public sector oil companies. They have been asked to open extension counters in uncovered areas.
The Andhra Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation and the Girijan Cooperative Corporation will act as agents for the supply of cooking gas cylinders to the consumers in the remote areas.
With the launching of the scheme, oil industry circles apprehend a severe shortage of cooking gas supplied by the public sector oil companies in Andhra Pradesh in the coming weeks, besides posing infrastructural problems.
Each of the existing LPG dealers has to issue up to 2,000 new connections under the scheme. They lack the storage capacity for the new connections and do not have spare cylinders for taking up immediate supply.
The LPG bottling capacity in the state is also inadequate to meet the demand. The refilling plants located at Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Kurnool and Cuddapah have capacity to supply 2.5 million refills a month. The additional bottling capacity being created at Hyderabad and Rajahmundry will not be able to meet the requirements.
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