Kolkata: Authentication of biometric data to verify the Aaadhaar details of domestic LPG customers has no deadline at all and is not mandatory for all.
The LPG companies have made it clear that the centre has never set any deadline. But the gas companies have been directed to complete the job as early as possible. Authentication can be done sitting in the comfort of your home using gas companies’ portals, their mobile applications, or by visiting the UIDAI site. At the same time, they also reiterated that such authentication is absolutely a free service and any demand for fees by the distributors can be brought to the notice of the concerned companies. However,
Some gas companies like Indian Oil have meanwhile introduced doorstep authentication facilities through delivery persons. But that has so far been made available in the city areas due to an insufficient number of required devices. “Every distributor has an average of 15000 to 20000 customers, of which around 90% are subsidized customers. Carrying out the authentication job of such major customers is quite difficult at the distributors’ points. So we have provided the biometric authentication devices to the delivery persons to do the job while delivering the cylinder”, an official of Indian Oil said.
This is expected to provide a respite to lakhs of LPG customers who are being seen waiting in long queues in front of the LPG distribution counters across the state for their biometric data authentication as they people are afraid of discontinuation of the subsidized service unless their fingerprints are not updated by December 31 this year.
Sanjoy Sarkar, a domestic non-subsidized LPG user in Nadia, said, “I was told that the authentication is mandatory for all. I was in the queue for a long time, but failed to get it done due to a network problem”.
The misconception is further aggravated by a section of distributors forcing customers to buy accessories like new pipes. In many cases, distributors were found charging Rs.100 to Rs.200 for the authentication job. The process in many places is further complicated due to disruption in the network or due to technical problems like an error in the server that led more to delay.
Inquiry with gas companies by this newspaper revealed that biometric authentication through Aadhaar is mandatory only for those customers who have been availing subsidy, particularly customers enrolled under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojona beneficiaries. For Indian Oil customers, this authentication is also mandatory who are enrolled under PAHAL or Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh Scheme that aims to provide direct benefits to consumers.
LPG companies have also made it clear that in the most unlikely situation any such “benefitted” customer fails to authenticate the Aadhaar details, his connection will not be scrapped.
Speaking to The NfN, Tapan Kumar Pradhan, Manager (Corporate Communications), Indian Oil said, “We don’t know how the misleading issue of deadline comes….There is no deadline for the Aadhaar data verification. There is no question of discontinuation of service or scrapping connection even in any unlikely situation any such customers failed to do the authentication”. “The service is provided free of cost”, he further added
At present, there are over 2.65 crore domestic LPG customers in Bengal. A major part of these customers are enrolled for subsidized service. Authentication is mandatory for all those who want to continue to avail the subsidy. (Ujjwala beneficiaries Rs.300 non-Ujjwala customers Rs.19.6 per cylinder)
- Who needs Aadhhaar authentication?
All customers availing subsidy, particularly those enrolled under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojona
- Is there any deadline for this authentication?
No. there is no deadline at all.
- Is there any possibility of discontinuing of service or subsidy?
There is no question of scrapping of service. It is just a verification of Aadhaar data.
- Should I be required to pay my gas distributor for this authentication job?
No. This is a free service. You can complain in case any distributor asks for money.
- Should I be required to buy any accessories from the distributor for the authentication job?
No. Not at all.
- Can I do this authentication at home?
Yes. You can do it by visiting the concerned website, using mobile apps, or visiting the UIDAI (uidai.gov.in) site (Aadhaar seeding portal)