<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), touted as harbinger of change in the rural landscape, may not prove to be a big game changer for the BJP in Gujarat elections.The scheme that took off with great promise in May 2016 and has already released 3.12 crore gas connections in one-and-a-half years to the BPL families, up from 87 lakh connections in 2014, is attracting fewer customers for a refill in rural Gujarat.According to Vimesh Shah, one of the biggest Gas Agency of Hindustan Petroleum in Vyara, Tapi district, the scheme was a roaring success initially but is turning out to be dud as only 40% household have come back for a refill since May 2016.Lot of BPL families took the connection as the entire Rs 1600 cost, including security deposit (cylinder and regulator), hose pipe, book, installation and administrative charges was being borne by the government on one-time basis.”Due to enormous pressure of the government, we made rapid progress and registered 44,782 registration until November 5, 2017 in Tapi district alone. Of these 40,448 connections have already been installed. But almost 60% of them have not come back for a refill which raises a question mark of the efficacy of the scheme,” said Shah.The percentage of refill in rural area would plummet further if they take data of towns into account as BPL families in urban areas come back for refills, he said.Vindicating Shah’s figures Sylvi Gamit, a beneficiary from Dhamodi village of Sonegarh Taluka, said, there are very few takers of a refill in our village because it is much costlier than firewood.”Firewood remains a cheaper option as Rs. 1200 worth of wood lasts full one year whereas, a cylinder costing Rs. 714 plus transportation cost is barely sufficient for 3 months,”said Sylvi.According to Ashok Gamit, women in villages like to keep LPG cylinder handy for an emergency. They use it like costly medicine in times of monsoon when the dry wood is difficult to procure.With the increase in international crude and gas prices, the subsidy has also become less lucrative. Of the cost of Rs. 714, BPL families get only Rs. 214.88 as subsidy.”This subsidy too does not reflect initially as most BPL families take upfront loan for the gas stove that costs about Rs 1000 which means they will have to forego subsidy for at least 4 to five refills,”said a gas dealer in Sonegarh.
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