Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday handed over allotment letters of 195 petrol pumps to women and SC/ST community as the government looks to increase the number of outlets for the weaker sections of society.
"For the Modi government, Indian Constitution is the only guide for administration.Upliftment of SC/ST communities is aconstitutional duty for us," he said at the allotment function here. As on date, there are only 6,053 petrol pumps,or 11 percent of total 54,826 outlets, run by SC/ST against the warranted 12,000 to meet the 20 per cent norm. Pradhan said in the last three years, his ministry has taken several initiatives to help SC/STs awardees including revision of temporary company-owned-company-operated (COCO)divestment Policy in 2016.
Under Corpus Fund Scheme for SC/ST/Women, ready builtretail outlets along with working capital loan for fulloperation cycle will be provided, he said. He said he has written to chief ministers of all states requesting them to make land available to state-owned oil companies at government rate for setting up SC/ST petrolpumps. "If land at cheaper rates can be provided for openinghotel and setting up factories there is no reason why our SC/ST brothers should be deprived of this benefit," he said.
The allotment letters of temporary COCO outlets to SC, ST& Women beneficiaries was presented in presence of Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram.
The amendment to the scheme of divestment approved last year envisages allotment of temporary COCOs to pending SC, ST Letters of Intent Holders (LoI) and Widows and unmarriedwomen, who are above 40 years of age without earning parents. The amended scheme also provides support to SC, STdealers, who have lost their retail outlets due to acquisitionof land by Government or Government bodies and those SC, STLoI holders, who have been handed over petrol pumps butcouldn't retain possession due to court case or litigation. Pradhan also said his ministry is committed to increasethe percentage of SC/ STs in retail outlet dealerships.