LPG bottling plants to benefit 40 lakh households, boost local economy’
PATNA/BHAGALPUR: Around 40 lakh households in Bihar and Jharkhand will benefit from the newly launched LPG bottling plants in East Champaran and Banka districts. The plants, inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi through videoconferencing on Sunday under the PM Ujjwala Yojana, are expected to supply LPG cylinders to lakhs of domestic and commercial consumers in Muzaffarpur, Siwan, Gopalganj, Sitamarhi, Bhagalpur, Banka, Jamui, Araria, Kishanganj, Katihar, East Champaran and West Champaran districts.
With a combined bottling capacity of 80,000 cylinders per day, the plants will also provide direct and indirect employment to over 1,000 people in these areas.
Vibhash Kumar, executive director of Indian Oil-Bihar and state coordinator of oil marketing companies (OMCs) in the state said the two LPG bottling plants would help supply clean fuel to the poorest of poor households. “This will emancipate the women from harmful kitchen smoke. Over 85 lakh families in Bihar have got free LPG connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana till now. Just 25% of families in Bihar had LPG connection in 2014. The penetration has now gone up to 77%. With the establishment of these two plants, our aim is to provide LPG cylinders to at least 95% households in the state,” Kumar added.
The LPG bottling plant in Banka is the second major investment by any public sector undertaking (PSU) after Kahalgaon Super Thermal Power Station (KhSTPS) of NTPC.
Eastern Bihar Industries Association general secretary Alok Agarwal said the launch of LPG bottling plant in Banka would have a positive ripple effect on the socio-economic condition of the people of Banka and Bhagalpur districts.
“Besides making LPG supply to the consumers easy, the plant will also provide employment opportunities to local youths, including migrants. Small shops, eateries and some commercial activities will come up around the area too,” he said.
Situated approximately 38km away from Bhagalpur and 9km from Banka on Bhagalpur-Banka-Dumka road, the IOCL’s LPG bottling plant was set up with an expenditure of Rs 132 crore. The LPG bottling plant of HPCL at Harsidhi in East Champaran district, on the other hand, was built with an expenditure of Rs 136 crore.
Ashwini Jha, a resident of Banka, said, “The money inflow in the form of salaries to IOCL employees and others will also be spent in the local market, which will give a boost to business activities. Markets at Bounsi, Rajoun and Jagdishpur will also flourish. Also, the cost in making provisions of additional cooking means, including kerosene and wood, would also go down with easy availability of LPG cylinders,” Jha added.