Kolkata: The oil companies have started organising ‘LPG Panchayat’ in the state in a bid to conduct massive awareness among consumers who are still skeptical about using LPG. The awareness campaign involving Panchayat members at the village level will cover 14,000 villages in the state byMarch 2019. “We have found out that a section of rural people are still hesitant in using LPG, particularly due to the occurrence of fire hazards. The campaign in the village is aimed at alleviating this fear and ensuring 100 percent LPG coverage in the state as soon as possible,” said Abhijit Dey, General Manager (LPG), Indian Oil Corporation LTD. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to IOCL’s Chief General Manager (Incharge) and State Level Coordinator of Oil Industry, Amitava Majumdar in 2014, the LPG coverage in the state was 40.5 percent with 86.64 lakh customers. “This has gone up to 88.1 percent with a customer base of 195.75 lakhs. We along with the other oil marketing companies are expediting the drive to increase the coverage up to 100 percent,” he said. In the latest Cabinet Committee, a decision was made to release deposit-free LPG connections to poor families, who were earlier not considered for release of connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for their names had not appeared either on Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) list or the seven identified categories — SC/STs households, beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(PMAY) (Gramin), Antyodaya Anna Yojana(AAY), Forest dwellers, Most Backward Classes (MBC), tea and ex-tea garden tribes, people residing on Islands or river islands. Now, all poor families are expected to be covered under the Expanded Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (EPMUY)-2 scheme. In Bengal, 68.82 lakhs connections have been issued so far under the scheme. The scheme was launched in 2016 with an objective to provide LPG connections to 8 crore households in the country under it with a budgetary provision of Rs 12,800 crore.