Additional District Collector Sonawane a martyr, he says

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Jaipal Reddy on Thursday ruled out decontrol of diesel and kerosene prices, stating the move was not politically and practically feasible.

“It is not possible right now. Let me make it clear, I am in agreement in theory with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia that diesel and other fuel prices should be deregulated but I will request him to examine such a move practically and politically,” he said at a press conference here.

Mr. Ahluwalia recently advocated freeing diesel prices on the lines of deregulation of petrol prices to bring down government subsidies.

Asked whether the government will consider raising the kerosene prices to check its adulteration in diesel, he replied in the negative, stating it was a politically sensitive issue and, therefore, not feasible.

“Political feasibility means deeper sense, providing commodities to the poorer sections of society. We still have the poorer sections of society depending on kerosene.”

Referring to the oil mafia in Maharashtra, Mr. Reddy said the slain Additional District Collector, Yeshwant Sonawane, was a “martyr.” He appealed to the State government to take stringent action against those who burnt the official live.

“We believe he died a heroic death. He died while performing a lofty duty. He was a martyr.

Although, distribution of oil is the business of the State government, we believe that we should recognise the officer who has paid with his life for this noble cause. The three State-run oil companies have decided to pay Rs.25 lakh by way of ex-gratia to his family. We urge the State government to take stringent steps to see that all those involved are punished in a proper way,” he said.

Mr. Reddy, along with Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R.P.N. Singh, reviewed the situation of diversion of subsidised petroleum products and adulteration of auto fuel with senior officers of the Petroleum Ministry and the oil marketing companie (OMCs).

Expressing concern over the growing menace of adulteration, Mr. Reddy directed that immediate measures be initiated to deal with the situation. He directed the OMCs to put in place by June 1, 2011, an upgraded marker programme for kerosene based on the past experience.

He also directed officials to study the feasibility of introducing a GPS system for all the vehicles involved in transportation of petroleum products from depots to the delivery points. The OMCs will provide technological and institutional support required for this to the authorities concerned and the State governments.

As part of a transparent regime, soon information on the daily dispatch of kerosene from every depot and details of tank trucks transporting them and the destination to which the dispatch are meant, would be uploaded on their website as the information for the public.