New Delhi, India
Oil minister S Jaipal Reddy has said his ministry will re-introduce chemical marker within six months to check diversion of subsidised kerosene for adulteration of diesel and ask states to fit satellite tracking systems on tankers used by civil supplies departments to ferry the poor man’s fuel.
But oil company executives said fitting tracking systems on kerosene tankers hired by wholesale dealers appointed by state governments, will not prevent diversion. According to them, the price advantage enjoyed by kerosene because of the subsidy on the fuel prompts its diversion that can be checked through pricing reforms.
The minister ruled out any increase in kerosene price on the ground it was “politically difficult”. “I agree with those who ask for kerosene and diesel deregulation as a theory. But they should think whether it is practical. What is possible is what is practical (marker and tracking systems are possible),” he said.
Petroleum secretary S Sundareshan said it is difficult to tamper with petrol or diesel during transit because of increasing automation and deployment of online data monitoring systems, satellite tracking systems and specialised locks on tankers. Company executives added that tankers were hired by wholesale dealers appointed by state civil supplies department.