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LPG price hiked to help private oil firms make profits: Opposition LPG price hiked to help private oil firms make profits: Opposition

Jan-07-2014 | 0 Comments

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF on Monday alleged that the UPA government had increased the price of LPG cylinders so that private oil companies can make profits at the cost of the state exchequer. Moving an adjournment motion on the LPG cylinder issue, CPM MLA Thomas Isaac said that the random increase of Rs 230 per cylinder has put a great strain on ordinary consumers, especially since the Aadhaar-linked gas cylinder distribution has been a failure till date.

"Union petroleum and natural gas minister Veerappa Moily has only given an extension of two months to customers in the state to link their Aadhaar cards with their bank accounts for LPG subsidy and this is really unfair," Isaac said.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy said there are 77 lakh consumers in the state but only 57% have linked their connections to the Aadhaar card. "We know that 100% Aadhaar card linkage is not possible in two months. We will ask for an extension of six months," the CM said.

He said only 5.3% of consumers in the state use more than nine gas cylinders per year, but the state has nevertheless asked for an increase for up to 12 subsidized cylinders a year.

Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said that ordinary people in the country cannot afford the huge price increase and that it is a gross violation of the Supreme Court order.

Meanwhile, home minister Ramesh Chennithala told the assembly that the Centre is not supportive of the state government's request to increase the number of security personnel inside trains. As per the agreement, the state and the Centre should each contribute 50% of the security officers. However, the state does not have adequate personnel to ensure the security of women passengers in trains.

He said the state would exert pressure on the Centre to shift the ladies' compartment to the middle of trains. The state has also recommended the installation of CCTV cameras inside ladies' compartments, he added.

The state is now planning to deploy home guards on board trains to ensure women's safety. For increasing security on long distance trains, the Centre's help would be sought. All these issues will be discussed at the national conference of women police officers to be held in Thiruvananthapuram on January 17 and 18, the home minister told the assembly.

The chief minister informed the assembly that the state would provide BPL cards to all who are eligible for the same. The guidelines fixed by the Centre will not affect this. At present, there are practical difficulties in abolishing the BPL/APL divide in society. The state has decided to allow more relaxations in applying for or receiving BPL cards.

He said the government has decided to give 'grama sabhas' the responsibility of ensuring that the benefits of government schemes reach the public. It is ironical that a section of people in the state is not even aware of the state government's landless scheme. This was realized during the mass contact programme, the chief minister added.

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