Centre outlines plan to fight adulteration mafia
The brazen killing of Manmad district’s additional collector Yashwant Sonawane has finally awakened the government, which on Thursday announced steps to curb the growing menace of the Rs 21,000 crore fuel adulteration industry.delhi Updated: Jan 28, 2011 01:10 IST
The brazen killing of Manmad district’s additional collector Yashwant Sonawane has finally awakened the government, which on Thursday announced steps to curb the growing menace of the Rs 21,000 crore fuel adulteration industry.
Sonawane was set on fire by the oil mafia in Manmad on January 24 while attempting to stop diversion of PDS (public distribution system) kerosene.
While announcing a Rs 25 lakh payment by oil companies to the family of Sonawane, petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy shared details of a three-pronged strategy to fight the mafia:
Reintroducing of a chemical marker system in kerosene.
Introducing a GPS (global positioning system) tracking device to follow the movement of trucks from oil depots to fair price ration shops.
Setting up a system of online updates on the quantity of fuel and time of departure of trucks will be uploaded.
Reddy, after a meeting with senior oil firm officials on Thursday, said the issue of a nationwide crackdown on the oil mafia was discussed even though “the responsibility of distribution of subsidised kerosene through the PDS rests with state governments”.
A litre of kerosene costs Rs 12.37 a litre, while diesel is priced at Rs 37.75 a litre and petrol at Rs 58.37 a litre. The huge difference — the price of diesel is three times that of kerosene — makes it lucrative for diverting kerosene for mixing in diesel.
This means the losses of Rs 20 per litre that oil marketing companies bear so that the kitchens of the poor get kerosene at a cheaper rate, are being converted into profits for the oil mafia.
An estimated 40-60% of the 10.5 million tonnes of kerosene that the government annually allocates to states is diverted once it leaves the oil company depots, according to a senior official at state-owned Indian Oil Corporation, India’s largest oil marketing company.