Centre again appeals to affluent consumers to give up LPG subsidy

Kolkata, Nov 14 (IANS) The central government on Saturday yet again appealed to affluent LPG consumers to give up subsidy, and said there was a need to think of an income bracket on the issue.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the CII, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government has saved Rs.15,000 crore by terminating 30 million duplicate LPG connections.

“Since the time of implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), the government has saved Rs.15,000 crore. About 30 million duplicate LPG connections were terminated and had led to this savings,” he said.

Pradhan said recently Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked him whether it was time to limit LPG subsidies to some income bracket. “I told him it was time to think about this.”

The minister said there was an urgent need to step up activities with particular emphasis on the downstream in the eastern region of the country which had potential in the oil and gas sector.

“With the eastern, northeastern and the Andaman region endowed with massive reserves of coal-based methane (CBM) and other natural gases, it is high time that we devoted more time and energy to strengthening the support structure – from mentoring, financing, quality standards, marketing inputs and technology acquisition,” he said.

“We are planning to make the East a gateway for oil and gas. Four LNG terminals are in the concept stage,” he said.

He also focused on downstream polytex industry, saying this will go a long way in ensuring India supports the textiles industry in the South East region, particularly Vietnam and and Bangladesh.

“The textile sector in the eastern region will grow as a result,” he said.

He also spoke of the plan to set up an LPG Import Terminal at Paradip in Odisha.

“The aim is to help meet the additional LPG demand in the eastern states,” the minister said, adding that LPG pipelines are being built in Haldia and Durgapur in West Bengal, Barauni, Patna and Muzaffarpur in Bihar to connect them with the terminal.

Pradhan underscored the need for doing away with coal and kerosene and embracing other forms of commercial energy which are of higher quality and efficiency.

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