Oil marketing companies are planning to introduce smart cards for cooking gas customers in the next six months, in a move to keep tabs on consumption.

Following the decision of the Petroleum Ministry on September 13 to cap the number of subsidised gas cylinders to six per household a year, oil marketing companies — BPCL, HPCL and IOC — are evaluating the prospects of introducing the smart cards by March 2013.

“Whether the cards will be based on RFID, barcode or on the GPRS-based technology is being studied as of now. Pilots are already underway,” BPCL Executive Director (LPG) George Paul told reporters here on Saturday.

LPG, for domestic purposes, is delivered in cylinders. The delivery person would carry a smart card-reader, which would update the database of the distributor and also that of the oil marketing companies.

Paul said companies are also carrying out pilot studies in Mysore, Puducherry and Chandigarh for linking each customer to the UID database. This, he said, would enable companies to route the subsidy directly to the customer, using the UID enabled bank accounts. However, no deadlines have been set with regard to this particular initiative, as companies are awaiting a pan-India rollout of the UID programme, he said.

Paul added that though there were 14 crore customers across India, in some instances, oil companies have found that customers have multiple connections or the same address has been registered against multiple consumers. Therefore, a process of weeding out such consumers is also underway, he said.

rahul.wadke@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 13, 2012)
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