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Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS)¬†Government-run oil marketing companies temporarily halted further release of new connections after meeting the target of 1.5 crore LPG connections under PMUJ in its first year — but grant of new connections will be resumed soon, a senior official said on Wednesday.

“The target of distributing 1.5 crore connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has been achieved in only eight months across the country,” Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra, Executive Director (West Bengal State Office), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Marketing Division, said.

“We have put a temporary halt to release of new connections though we are collecting know-your-customer details, verifying documents and continuing other back-end activities necessary for new connections. We will soon start releasing new connections,” he told IANS.

Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free cooking gas connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

Mohapatra was present at a valedictory function at Saksham – 2017 (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav), aimed to create awareness among the masses towards judicious use and conservation of petroleum products.

The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May last year in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia. The PMUY aims to provide five crore LPG connections to BPL families in three years.

According to latest figures, the top five states in terms of PMUY connections are Uttar Pradesh (46 lakh), West Bengal (19.5 lakh), Bihar (19 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (17 lakh) and Rajasthan (14 lakh).

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his 2017-18 Budget, proposed an allocation of Rs 2,500 crore for new LPG connections to poor households, which remains unchanged vis-a-vis the 2016-17 allocation.

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