Rethink insistence on Aadhaar for subsidy: Mamata to centre

Kolkata, Nov 1 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday urged the centre to "seriously reconsider" its decision to make Aadhaar card compulsory for getting subsidised cooking gas (LPG) and said otherwise her party members would lay siege to the Indian Oil Corporation office here.

"There is a Supreme Court verdict that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for getting benefits of government schemes. The government appealed against it, but the SC rejected it. Even then, how can the petroleum ministry decide that without Aadhaar card people won't get the subsidy of six cylinders?" she said.

"I request the prime minister to take care or our party workers will lay siege to the Indian Oil Corporation office. It is an attempt to cheat the people," Banerjee said.

After the oil ministry made Aadhaar mandatory for receiving subsidised cooking gas (LPG) in 19 districts, the central government granted three months' extension to the state government to start Aadhaar card-linked cash transfer scheme for LPG.

The chief minister, however, insisted that to achieve 100 percent Aadhaar coverage, adequate manpower is needed.

The chief minister accused the central government of "negligence" and slammed it for not providing sufficient time to fully implement the Aadhaar scheme in the state.

She said other states will also experience similar problem.

"In my state, only 15-20 percent work has been done, and this is a central government project. So, they cannot say you have to complete this within a period...and manpower must be available," said Banerjee.

"When Aadhaar card is not available with the people, then duty lies with the central government and they have not done their duty," she said.

Banerjee also ridiculed the central government's idea of Bus Days to conserve fuel at a time when people are burdened by rising prices.

"One one side, they are withdrawing facilities and on the other hand prices are rising. The common people are the sufferers," she said.

"Instead of taking responsibility, they (central government) are writing to me that there must be Bus Day...what Bus Day? The government is saying one day (of the week) will be Bus Day. Don't know why they are showing this type of attitude...they must think over the matter," she said.

Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily wrote to all chief ministers, suggesting a "use the bus day" for all government offices to promote fuel conservation. He himself went to his office by Metro in Delhi one day two weeks ago.

--IANS (Posted on 01-11-2013)

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