Woman on Poster of Ujjwala Scheme Forced to Cook on Chulha: BBC Report
"When we got this connection (in 2016), one cylinder cost Rs 520. Now it costs Rs 770," said Guddi Devi.
Guddi Devi, one of the first women who received a gas connection in 2016 under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme, is back to cooking on a chulha, revealed a BBC report.
It is Guddi Devi who has, since then, been the face of the scheme. However, much like many other beneficiaries of the scheme, she is back to cooking on the chulha, using firewood or cow dung.
Under the scheme, one woman in each household living below the poverty line is entitled to 12 subsidised cylinders a year. While the cost of the connection and the first cylinder is paid for by the government, the following refills are to be borne by the beneficiaries themselves.
Guddi Devi could only afford to pay for 11 cylinders in three years. “When we got this connection (in 2016), one cylinder cost Rs 520. Now it costs Rs 770,” she told BBC, adding “Where will I get the money to buy cylinders from?”
The report also quotes a gas agency owner, Akhilesh Gupta, as saying, “We see that only 30% of Ujjwala beneficiaries actually come here for refills. This rate is almost double among those not covered by the scheme.”
A recent survey by Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (RICE), conducted in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, had revealed that 85 per cent of the beneficiaries of the scheme were still using chulhas.
Earlier this month, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had similarly exposed the reality of Harisal village — declared India’s first ‘smart village’ by PM Modi . The village was supposed to be an achievement of the Digital India project. However, Thackeray had shown that the conditions of the villages had not changes as was claimed. Moreover, the village youth who features in the government advertisement was called on stage by Thackeray. The youth had backed Thackeray’s claims and had also told people that he was unemployed.