In a bid to make the rollout of free cooking gas connections to below-poverty-line families under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana a success, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan is directly connecting through calls and video conferencing with nearly 600 officials, who are posted on the ground to make the distribution process hassle free. Technology has been a real-time tool for the government and its team of officers on ground to tackle issues. There are WhatsApp groups where sales officers post their queries or complaints, which are then immediately taken up by the joint secretary (marketing) or director (LPG) at the petroleum ministry in Delhi. Every month, Pradhan directly interacts with field officers at least twice over video conferencing and calls them up too, if required.
“The government has created an environment where we can reach out to the ground level. Earlier, we use to allot 100-200 new connections in a day across Bihar from the three PSU oil marketing companies. This has now risen to about 2,000 connections every day,” said Chetan Chandel, a sales officer with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) posted at Banka in Bihar. Renuka Shukla, deputy manager with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC), who is spearheading the PMUY launch in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, said: “We are making all possible efforts. The minister interacting with us directly motivates us to walk an extra mile,” she said.