**Bhubaneswar: ** Even though BJP is patting its own back boasting that they have benefitted 30 lakh Odisha women beneficiaries with Rs 1500 crore worth free LPG gas stoves, ruling BJD on the contrary has raised question on its veracity as there is no official provision for supplying free gas stove and not even free filling of the first dose of gas under the much-touted Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
Convening a press conference today, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said, “For the 30 lakh beneficiaries in Odisha, each gas stove cost about Rs 5,000 has been distributed. Rs 5,000 multiplied by 30 lakh is equal to Rs 1,500 crore. Hence, free gas stoves worth Rs 1,500 crore have been provided to the 30 lakh beneficiaries in Odisha by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.”
He argued, “If it is true, it is extremely dangerous. Because, there is no provision anywhere to provide free gas stove under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. It is not my claim. If one browses a website Indane, it vividly mentions that the Rs 1600 assistance given by the Central Government is only meant for the LPG companies who provide a free empty cylinder along with its connection pipe and requisite accessories. Even the first filling of LPG is also not free. Rs 1600-Rs 1700 has to be borne by the Ujjwala Scheme beneficiaries for the first filling of gas and the stove. This clearly mentioned in the Ujjwala Yojana.”
He further argued, “If the beneficiaries are unable to bear the expenditure, loan provision is also laid there. It means, either pay cash or get it on loan from the company.
“The Indane website mentions, (That the connection charges of Rs 1600 will be reimbursed by the Government of India. OMC will provide the option of EMI to beneficiaries towards the cost of stove and for supply.). If availed EMI, the loan amount is being deducted from the beneficiary’s subsidy amount,” he added.
The BJD spokesperson lambasted, “BJP had claimed that Rs 1500 crore worth free gas stoves had been distributed to 30 lakh women beneficiaries in Odisha. Such claim is absolutely false. And it smacks of a scam.”
“The question now arises on the claimed Rs 1500 crore expenditure. Was the Rs 1500 crore was spent on purchasing the gas stoves? If bought, where are those stoves? Because there is no provision of free gas stove. If gas stoves have not been purchased, where is the Rs 1500 crore? This Rs 1500 crore mystery is now shrouding BJP’s Ujjwala Yojana in Odisha,” he remarked.
He commented, “As BJP keeps on demanding CBI probe even into petty matters, it should decide to refer for a CBI probe into this Rs 1500 crore scam.”
“In the last three years, the total budget of the Centre for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is Rs 8,000 crore. We have official information that till date nearly Rs 6,394 crore has been spent on the scheme. If so, it gives rise to another controversy that Rs 1500 crore has been spent only in Odisha. Has Rs 1500 crore really reached to the women beneficiaries in Odisha or any other pocket? BJP should come out with a clear statement on it. The Hon’ble Union Petroleum Minister should come forward to explain on it,” the BJD spokesperson demanded.
On the contrary, Odisha BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra stated, “Let them (BJD) write letter to Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for the answer.”
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