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CM Aadhaar heat on Centre

Calcutta, Nov. 1: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today raised a question playing on the minds of most Calcuttans yet to receive their Aadhaar cards: will I continue to get the subsidy on domestic LPG?

Mamata’s outburst against the Centre came on a day the Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer scheme on domestic LPG came into effect in Calcutta, Howrah and Cooch Behar.

Addressing a news conference at Nabanna, the chief minister accused the Union petroleum ministry of confusing people and sought the Prime Minister’s intervention.

“When a government declares a policy, it should be for everyone. How can the petroleum ministry say that without the Aadhaar card, subsidy will not be provided on domestic LPG? They are cheating the people. The Prime Minister should look into the matter,” Mamata said.

The Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas today issued advertisements asking consumers in the three districts to get their Aadhaar cards linked with their respective banks and LPG distributors to avail of the direct benefit transfer scheme.

Mamata made it clear that she was not happy with the Centre’s decision to push through the scheme even though the majority of the people in Bengal were yet to get their Aadhaar cards.

On her instructions chief secretary Sanjay Mitra spoke to petroleum ministry officials this morning to convey the state’s displeasure with the decision.

Mamata then stepped out of her chamber to hold the news conference where she expressed concern over the fate of consumers who are yet to get their cards and questioned the process.

“How many cards do the people have to carry? ATM card, identity card, APL card, BPL card…. They will have to open lockers to keep their cards. Should they wear a garland of cards? The Centre should provide one card for all such schemes,” Mamata said.

In a Facebook post in the evening, she wrote: “Already, the common people are hard pressed by the restriction of subsidised LPG cylinders to nine per year. Now this Aadhaar card issue will be another cause of harassment to the common people.”

The chief minister referred to the Supreme Court ruling that Aadhaar cards could not be made mandatory for people to get government services and nobody should be deprived of such facilities for want of the card.