Chhattisgarh: Ujjwala Scheme Is Another Jumla. Not Able To Refill LPG Cylinders, Poor Women Still Use Chulhas, Get Exposed To Hazardous Pollutants.
The Ujjwala scheme, launched in 2016, has been facing criticism from the start for having short-sighted solutions to a much larger problem.
Many beneficiaries of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-hyped Ujjwala scheme are continuing to use chulhas and traditional forms of cooking fuel in poll-bound Chhattisgarh, The Economic Times reported.
One beneficiary, Vimla, told ET, “My husband is a casual labourer. A refill is too expensive at Rs 800-900. It is cheaper for me to go for firewood nearby and light a fire.” Her LPG cylinder ran out two months ago, and she has gone back to using the chulha since then.
Har Bai Patle, another beneficiary from a village in Bilaspur district, explained this in detail, “The first cylinder is for free. It lasts up to 2 months and then we have to go for a refill, which is Rs 850-900 now. We are agricultural labourers. So at one time we do not have this kind of money to spare. Even then, it is more expensive than the uplas (cow dung cakes). We can make these at home or even buy for Rs 600 a supply for 3-3.5 months. How is it even comparable?”
On top of this, villagers are duped by those providing the refills. One resident of Kewtara village told ET, “When we go, they charge us the full amount but don’t fill the cylinder completely. We realise it now since the first cylinder lasted us 2 months but the refill finished in just a month.”
The Ujjwala scheme, launched in 2016, has been facing criticism from the start for having short-sighted solutions to a much larger problem. Under the scheme, women belonging to BPL households are provided with an LPG cylinder. However, it has proved to be unsustainable for the beneficiaries in the long run. The chief reason behind this is the fact that most of these households cannot afford a refill of the LPG cylinder.
The village women who cook over dung-fuelled chulhas for several hours a day are exposed to hazardous pollutants. Air pollution leads not only to respiratory illness but has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, cataracts and lung cancer.