With an aim to make Andhra Pradesh a smoke-free state by June 8, the tahsildars have stepped on the gas to fulfil the state's directives to ensure LPG connections to every white ration cardholder and thus put an end to the supply of kerosene.
Over the past six months, Tahsildars have turned into marketing managers to persuade the BPL families in rural areas to take LPG connections. They are also trying hard to remove the misconceptions about the LPG gas which they consider explosive and vulnerable to leaks.
According to Deccan Chronicle, a Tahsildar working in Sullurpeta, C. Ravindra Babu said that people are reluctant to take the connections even if it is offered free of cost because of fear over leakage and explosion.
In Nellore alone nearly two lakh households are being persuaded to switch over to cooking gas under Deepam scheme. The authorities are also seeking the help of local philanthropists to pay for the LPG connection of the poor as the deadline is getting closer.
With the deadline just a little more than a week away, almost 50,000 families are yet to be covered.
Meanwhile, the state government has been bearing the security deposit of Rs 1,650 for the cylinder and regulator under the scheme for each connection. Nellore Joint Collector A. MD. Imtiaz has said that they would have provided all BPL households with LPG by this time if not for the non-cooperation by some gas companies.
Imtiaz also added that gas companies such as BPCL and HPCL had demanded advance payment of subsidy which lead to the delay.
However, Imtiaz has said that they will continue to supply kerosene to 30,000 households in the district because the Centre restricted thatched houses from owning an LPG connection.