November 1, 2013
WB CM takes on Centre for linking Aadhar to LPG subsidy
West Bengal Chief Minister today took on the Centre for unilaterally linking LPG subsidy to Aadhar card, despite a Supreme Court order against it. In her speech, she expressed her dismay about the hurried manner in which the Centre was implementing this, even though a large number of people are yet to receive their Aadhar cards. She opined that this was akin to cheating people.
Excerpts of the Chief Minister’s speech at Nabanna:
It has come to my notice, through media reports, that those who do not have Aadhar Cards will not be entitled to receive the subsidy on LPG. Three districts in West Bengal – Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly will be included in this scheme initially. This has left me in dismay.
Firstly, there must be a uniform system and uniform policy for all. Secondly, we have been told that Aadhar Card is not compulsory for any scheme or any developmental project. There is a verdict by the Hon’ble Supreme Court regarding the same. Even the government’s appeal against the verdict was rejected by the Supreme Court. In spite of that, how can the Petroleum Ministry unilaterally decide to go ahead with their decision of handing out 6 subsidised cylinders per year only to Aadhar card holders? This is a decision to cheat people.
The Centre has given three months buffer period for people to link their Aadhar cards for the subsidy. What will happen in just three months? The Chief Secretary of West Bengal government has already contacted the Petroleum Ministry regarding the issue. It is Centre’s duty to issue the Aadhar Cards. How can they start linking subsidies to Aadhar, even before cards are issued? Whose responsibility is this? Why should common people suffer because of this? It is unfortunate. If the Central Government does not make amends soon, Trinamool Congress will agitate at IOC offices in the country.
There should be one unique card that serves all purposes. There are so many cards these days. Central Government must understand the problems of the people and take back their decision to make Aadhar card mandatory. Merely 15-20% work of Aadhar Card registration and issuance has been done in the state. Without fulfilling their duty, Central Government cannot deprive people of the country.
Prices of essential commodities are on the rise. Fuel prices – petroleum, diesel, LPG – are on an upward spiral. Common people are the sufferers. Now the Central Government is saying that office timings should also change. I am always with the people. I do not know about the other states. I hope they concur with our views.
My humble request to the Prime Minister, therefore, is to immediately intervene and rid people of the crisis.
In the end, I take the opportunity to wish everyone in the state, as well as the country, a happy Deepawali.