J&K: 3 gas agencies booked for discrepancies in implementation of Ujjwala scheme

at 8:04 pm
Gas cylinder
Representational/file image

Pulwama (NVI): Three LPG gas agencies have been booked in south Kashmir’s Pulwama after huge discrepancies were found by the administration in the implementation of PMUY-Ujjwala Yojana.

District Magistrate, Pulwama, Raghav Langer today ordered Assisting Director of Food Civil Supplies to lodge FIR against the three erring LPG agencies.

The preliminary scrutiny and verification for the Ujjwala Yojana was going on for last few months in the district, concluded with the District Magistrate ordering AD Food Civil Supplies, Pulwama to lodge formal police cases against erring three LPG agencies.

According to a statement, the scam caught eye of the administration when last year in the month of April-May-June, entitlement for 3 free cylinders for Ujjawala Yojana beneficiaries was announced by Government of India amidst lockdown situation along with extra ration entitlement under PMGKAY.

The first LPG subsidy amount of Rs 851 got credited into accounts of Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries. Following this, many of the beneficiaries who had not physically received any connection got surprised with the credit entry and some approached their Tehsil Supply Officers (TSO’s) & bank branches to know the reason for such receipts.

On further enquiry, similar reports started pouring in from other areas as well as from public representatives that many of their SECC Ujjwala beneficiaries may be receiving LPG cylinder subsidy in their accounts, the statement said.

As per the initial inputs shared by the administration, Ujjawala Yojana connections get online sanctioned to the entitled beneficiaries by the Oil Marketing/Gas Companies (OMC’s) based on recommendation and submission of papers by concerned LPG agencies/dealers.

Since the Aadhar number and linked bank accounts are correct, the beneficiaries start receiving credit of Rs 95-200 per refill in their account.

In addition, the beneficiary most of the times were unable to understand the reason for this receipt, as it is simply reflected as a ABPS credit entry similar to quarterly/monthly receipt under other social security/pension schemes, PM-Kisan, scholarship schemes etc.

However, the gas refills keep on getting booked against the Ujjawala connections and these domestic gas cylinders go to the black market and most commonly are diverted for commercial use in hotels, restaurants, shops etc.

In regard to all this, DM Pulwama has lauded the efforts of AD Food Civil Supplies, Sheikh Enayatullah KAS for thorough investigation in the matter leading to unearthing of the scam and his zeal to streamline the PDS in the district.

According to the sources, the sections likely to be invoked in the FIR that is to be lodged through IPC sec 120-B Criminal conspiracy, sec 403 dishonest misappropriation of property, sec 406 criminal breach of trust, sec 417/420/463/464 for forgery & cheating read with sec 34 IPC ie acts done in furtherance of common intention among others.

Meanwhile, the administration will also be writing to the concerned OMC’s, Office of Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives Chandigarh, Fire & Emergency Services Dept J&K, Legal Metrology Dept J&K for initiating necessary action in view of gross violations, flouting of safety regulations, weights & measures rule.

Also, non fulfilment of agreement conditions found during surprise inspections of various LPG godowns carried out in the district on January 20, 2021.

Notable, CAG and other audit agencies in the past have also continuously raised concerns vis-a-vis implementation of Ujjawala Yojana in some areas. They pointed towards diversion of subsidized cylinders, high consumption of some Ujjwala households being reflected by agencies, large scale commercial usage of domestic cylinders & pre-installation check-ups, lack of validation checks etc.

Pertinently, Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana launched in 2016, connection comes with provision of 12 LPG refills per year linked with back ended subsidy Rs 1,600 per year.