Ammu is one of hundreds of thousands of LPG consumers in Kerala who panicked on seeing newspaper advertisements early this week announcing that consumers will have to pay the market price for cooking gas from September 1.
The advertisements also said that the government would bear her additional burden by releasing a cash subsidy in advance. In effect, Ammu, a resident of Malappuram district, should not have any problems.
Consumers will first need to link their Aadhaar card numbers to their LPG consumer numbers.
The advertisements listed a few ways by which this can be done as part of the formalities to receive the cash subsidy, or the direct benefit transfer for LPG (DBTL) as the government chooses to call it.
But the linking could be difficult sometimes.
Malappuram, for example, is a district where the Kerala government launched its ambitious e-literacy programme, Akshaya, a decade ago. It is said to be India's first e-literate district. It has 100 per cent internet connectivity with two to three Akshaya centres in each of its 100 village panchayats. Hence, it was only natural for people to opt for online linking of Aadhaar numbers with LPG consumer numbers.
The ads tell consumers to visit the UIDAI website, press the start button and follow the seeding procedure. But as Ammu discovered, at the website, it is difficult to even locate the start button.
The easier way, this correspondent found, is to visit the Petroleum Ministry's website which makes the process easier. Interestingly, this website piggybacks on the UIDAI's.
The contact number mentioned in the advertisements works only for those who opt for an interaction in English. There is hardly any response for those opting for the regional languages - Malayalam in this case.