Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran has said that the State will request the Centre to hand over total rights of petrol and diesel distribution in the State to the Civil Supplies department.

Speaking at the inauguration of a petrol pump to be jointly operated by the Civil Supplies and the Indian Oil Corporation here on Saturday, Mr. Divakaran said petrol and petroleum products fell under the essential commodity category and hence their distribution had to be with the government.

The Civil Supplies department was equipped to take over all petrol pumps in the State, he said, remarking that it was better that petrol pumps were with the public sector so as to ensure quality and a control on prices. The State was also planning to open petrol pumps of its own, the Minister said.

Stating that there were no shortcuts to get around the price rise dilemma, the Minister said the production sector had to be strengthened. However, despite the prices continuing to shoot up, the Civil Supplies department had managed to register sales worth Rs. 2,000 crore in the last two months, he added.

K.C. Venugopal, MP, and A.A. Shukoor, MLA, were present.