Cooking gas for all in three years: Centre

New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) Declaring 2016 as the “Year of LPG Consumers”, the government on Friday announced its plans to make clean cooking fuel available to all households by 2018-end.

It also announced an online bill payment facility.

“The 2016 will be Year of LPG Consumers. We will work to increase accessibility and availability of the cooking fuel in the country,” said Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.

“In coming three calender years 2016, 2017 and 2018, we will set an ambitious target to provide clean cooking fuel to entire population,” Pradhan said here, while launching an LPG emergency helpline number 1906 for India’s cooking gas consumers.

The consumers can call on this helpline number 1906 for assistance in dealing with gas leakage. While normal call rates will apply, Pradhan also asked officials present to make the number toll-free.

On the current LPG availability in the country, the minister said there are 27 crore subscribers, of which 16.5 crore are active subscribers, while the oil marketing companies cover around 60 percent of the population.

“We want to cover 100 percent population. But we have to keep in mind the affordability and accessibility issues. We hope that a large proportion of population will avail the facility with the increase in their purchasing power due to economic growth, in next three years,” he said.

On rolling out the LPG online bill payment service, Pradhan said: “The pilot experiment is on. We will launch this service during the 2016 calender year.”

Regarding launch of the composite transparent cylinder, the minister said it will be a realised in the next fiscal.

Also from Friday, cooking gas consumers with taxable income of more than Rs.10 lakh per annum will no longer get benefit of the subsidy on gas cylinders, the government has announced.

To be applicable from the New Year, the directive would be effected “initially on a self-declaration basis”, a petroleum ministry statement said.

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