9-cylinder cap puts martyrs children's meal in limbo

With the Centre limiting the number of LPG cylinders to nine per year, the diktat has put the Jilha Sainik Welfare Office (Pune) in the soup. Authorities at the welfare centre say since their two hostels operate on a no profit, no loss basis, tending to children of martyrs and widows, the new ruling is adding to its financial burden.

The two hostels are home to 274 students and have a monthly requirement of 38 gas cylinders. Of which the boys hostel at Parvati, which houses 140 boys, goes through 24 cylinders monthly, while the 137 girls residing at Navi Peth utilises 14 cylinders.

Riding on fears: Jilha Sainik Welfare officials use 14 cylinders per month to provide food for 137 girls residing at its Navi Peth hostel. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

But due to cap on cylinders, the office will be compelled to purchase cylinders at the commercial rate. Top officials at the centre fear that if they are not provided a subsidy on cylinders for its usage, it will hinder the daily meal it provides to its students. “We run both these hostels on a no profit, no loss basis. We provide free boarding and meals to children of martyrs, widows, and charge a nominal fee from children of former soldiers. As we don’t have any source of income, it is our request to the government to continue subsidy towards hostel cylinders,” said Col (retd) Ratansinh Nayakvade, Jilha Sainik Welfare officer.

The office has sent an official application to the District Distribution Officer to look into the matter, asking them to speak to concerned gas agencies to provide subsidised cylinders.

“We have sent the letter on Wednesday and are awaiting a reply. We have requested the distribution office to consider our plea as a special case, as we run these hostels as a social cause,” said Arun Dalvi, deputy officer at Jilha Sainik Welfare Office.

When contacted, the District Distribution Officer, Madhukar Bodke, stated that he doesn’t have a role in it and can’t do much in this case. “After I receive the application, I will forward it to the concerned gas agencies. With the new rules set up by the government, my office can’t do anything.”

“According to new policy, social institutes can’t avail a special benefit on gas subsidies. Previously, based on the collector’s recommendation, these institutes would get cylinders at the domestic rate. But, hence forward they have to pay the commercial rate,” added Bodke.

Bleak future
Last month, the Jilha Sainik Welfare Office paid Rs 950 for each cylinder, which is the commercial price fixed by the government.

“We purchased all cylinders at the commercial rate, but in future it will become very difficult, as we don’t have any additional financial provision,” said Nayakvade. 

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