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Oil minister Pradhan to launch LPG drive in J&K.


Date: 28-09-2016
Subject: Oil minister Pradhan to launch LPG drive in J&K
New Delhi: Poor households in Jammu and Kashmir will be able to access clean cooking fuel without having to pay an upfront deposit as part of a central government initiative to engage more closely with people in the militancy-hit state.

Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan will on Wednesday launch a drive by oil companies for distributing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections on a massive scale under the Ujjwala scheme.

The drive is part of the government’s plan to use hydrocarbons, especially gas which is a cleaner fossil fuel, for improving the living standards of people and to boost the economy of geographically challenged regions such as the hill states of the north and northeast.

Pradhan will hold special meetings in both Jammu and in Kashmir on Wednesday and Thursday.

“About 96,000 applications for LPG connections have been approved by fuel retailers for people in Jammu and Kashmir, which will be given in the next few days. The target is to give at least 25 lakh connections to women in the state over three years,” said a ministry official, who asked not to be identified.

Also Read: Deadline for linking Aadhaar with LPG connection to be extended

Kashmir has been set as a priority state for implementing the Ujjwala scheme, although the state’s average LPG consumption is higher than the national average, explained the official.

Under the scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 May in Uttar Pradesh, fuel retailers have already given 6.8 million LPG connections, 3 million of which are to women in Uttar Pradesh.

Anish De, partner, infrastructure and government practice, KPMG in India said gas consumption in the country at this time is significantly below potential and makes up only 6.5% of India’s energy basket, down from 12% a few years ago. “Infrastructure deficit is one of the key reasons that is holding back sector development. The creation of infrastructure will also aid market creation, which is essential for sector development,” said De.

State-owned fuel retailers have been asked to popularize usage of the clean cooking fuel without considerations of profits. In an interview to Mint published on 3 September, Pradhan said making LPG available in underserved areas and creating new markets for the clean cooking fuel were not aimed at making profit, but were an attempt at empowering women.

The official quoted above said fuel retailers are distributing about 2 million cylinders a month under the scheme and that the target of making them available to 50 million households will likely be achieved well before the three-year deadline set by the Union cabinet.

The push to popularize LPG is impacting the dynamics of the domestic hydrocarbon industry. It has reduced consumption of kerosene in recent months, led to an increase in imports of the cooking fuel and is driving investments in the entire value chain of gas imports, bottling plants and transportation.

India imports about 40% of its nearly-20 million tonne LPG requirement at present. This is expected to go up to 50-60% of the requirement in the next few years as consumption goes up.

Popularizing LPG consumption is also part of the government’s strategy to move toward a natural gas-based economy.

The cabinet last week approved funding about 40% of the project cost of a 2,500- km pipeline connecting Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal—at an estimated cost of Rs.12,940 crore.

According to experts, about 900,000 premature deaths take place in India every year due to the use of biomass and coal for cooking, which the government wants to replace with LPG.

Source : livemint.com

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