The much-touted Ujjwala Yojana scheme of the Modi government is not as big as the hoardings put up at every fuel station across the state as lakhs of beneficiaries are not using LPG after the first cylinder is exhausted, charged the ruling BJD here on Saturday.

Year on year the number of beneficiaries availing a refill of LPG is dipping as the poor are unable to afford the price and there are allegations of beneficiaries giving their cards to others in lieu of cash to purchase essentials, said BJD MP Pratap Deb (in photo) who is also the spokesperson of the party.

A lot of money has been spent by IOCL and other oil marketing companies to organise functions for Ujjwala Yojana, he said, adding that the beneficiary list is prepared by BJP activists and people’s representatives are not involved.

Providing figures given in Parliament to drive home his point, Deb said there are 30.48 lakh beneficiaries in Odisha. A district wise break up in the state shows that 8,18,786 took a second LPG refill in 2016-17 while in 2017-18 this had come down to 6.45 lakh. This shows that number of beneficiaries taking a second refill cylinder had come down, he pointed out.

Deb noted that there is a 25 to 30 per cent fall in second refills. How can such a scheme be termed as a revolution, a mega success as is being tom-tommed by the BJP, he asked.

Addressing a press conference here, Deb said there were allegations of delay in subsidy payment to accounts, selection of beneficiaries, party propaganda at oil marketing companies expense etc.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan hit back saying such allegations and selective misinterpretation reflects the anti-poor, anti-women mindset of the ruling BJD in the state. The BJD is trying to cover-up for its own failures by raking up such ludicrous charges, he said, while pointing out that people across the country had accepted and welcomed the Ujjwala scheme.

BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya promptly held a press conference to lambast the BJD and list out allegations against the ruling party in the states, its failure to implement central schemes including the Food Security Act, etc.