Only 55 per cent of the total household in urban slums in six states exclusively use Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), an Council On Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) survey revealed.
The report published on Wednesday, March 10, said that the survey covered 657 households across 83 notified and non-notified urban slums in 58 districts of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
"Across these six Indian states, only half of the urban slum households use LPG exclusively. This is in spite of 86 per cent of the total urban slum households having LPG connection," said the CEEW survey report.
The two critical factors that determine their ability to use LPG exclusively are the household's economic status (measured through asset ownership) and access to doorstep delivery of LPG refills.
According to the report, approximately 37 per cent of the households using LPG in urban slums are not receiving LPG cylinders at their doorstep. Male members of 87 per cent of households have to travel to procure the cylinders, which makes the cylinder costlier.
"The six states covered in the survey have the highest percentage of households covered under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, only 23 per cent of slum households had PMUY connections. About 12 per cent of the urban slum households do not use LPG despite having PMUY connection and are completely relying on fuels with high carbon emissions," according to the report.
The use of polluting fuels increases during winter, as people need to keep themselves warm apart from cooking food. Nearly 75 per cent of households using polluting fuels cook inside the main house, of which 67 per cent of households do not have a chimney for ventilation.
Over a third of slum households surveyed use polluting fuels such as firewood, dung cake, agriculture residue, charcoal, and kerosene on a daily or weekly basis, which effectively increases their exposure to Hazardous Air pollutants (HAP), the survey said.
The CEEW survey report has recommended that the government should increase the user base of the PMUY scheme. "As part of the next phase of PMUY, the government should expand its reach to urban slum households as there is still a number of households without LPG connections," the report said.
To overcome the problem of low LPG usage in the country, CEEW also recommended that platforms like LPG Panchayats should increase awareness regarding the process of subsidy calculation and disbursement for households.
One of the key recommendations of the survey report also suggests that the schemes which propagate the maximum use of clean cooking energy could be integrated with other ministries' social assistance programmes (e.g., health, education and nutrition assistance) so that more people can use LPG.