With the Centre slashing Punjab's quota of subsidised kerosene for the public distribution system (PDS) by 63%, the state government has decided to check pilferage, ascertain the actual demand and then approach the union government with a proposal for a revised quota.
Meanwhile, the state government has reworked the allocation of kerosene to certain sections of beneficiaries. The share of about 13 lakh blue-card holders has been reduced from 10 litres to 5 litres per month. It has been decided to discontinue subsidised kerosene to about 5 lakh beneficiaries in the above-poverty-line (APL) category.
However, around 4.68 lakh beneficiaries in the below-poverty-line (BPL) category and those covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) would continue to get 10 litres of kerosene every month at a subsidised rate of Rs 15 per litre.
Earlier, all categories were entitled to 10 litres of kerosene.
The union petroleum ministry had recently informed Punjab's department of food and civil supplies that the state's monthly quota of kerosene in the first quarter of the current financial year had been reduced to 83.12 lakh litres from 225 lakh litres.
The Centre reportedly took the decision to check the diversion and misuse of kerosene for adulteration. All states' quota has been cut, with Punjab being among the worst hit.
As per reports, about 40% of the PDS kerosene gets diverted and does not reach the beneficiary. DS Grewal, secretary, food and civil supplies, Punjab, told Hindustan Times that his department had started an exercise to find the exact number of beneficiaries who needed subsidised kerosene.
"We are uploading the data of kerosene users as well as LPG consumers. I have sought records from oil companies," he added. Punjab has about 53 lakh consumers with LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections.