The Central government does not cite any reason while reducing the allocation of kerosene to the State. But, what is unofficially cited as reason for the reduction is the growing presence of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections for domestic purposes. However, as a State government official puts it, even this has not been remotely indicated in the Union government's communication to the State.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, immediately after taking charge in May last, took up the issue of reduction in kerosene allocation with the Centre. Till now, the Centre has not made public the reason for its decision.

Even as this matter remains unresolved, there seems to be no unanimity between Central and State authorities over the number of LPG connections in Tamil Nadu – information that should be a pre-requisite for arriving at the exact quantity of kerosene requirement.

Under the PDS, only those having LPG single bottle connections are given three litres of kerosene a month. The general norm governing the monthly supply in the State is that 10 litres for cardholders in corporations and district headquarters; six litres — municipalities; five litres — town panchayats and three litres — village panchayats.

The official says as per the data of public sector oil companies, there are 1.35 crore connections.

According to the data available with the Civil Supplies Department, the State has only 99 lakh such connections where the consumers hold family cards.

The complaint of the State official is that the oil companies do not furnish full information on family cards held by LPG consumers. A senior executive of an oil company says that the PSU oil industry follows guidelines of the Petroleum Ministry and guidelines of the State government. Till some years ago, there was a rule in force in the State that those who wanted to have LPG connections should submit ‘no family card' certificates, which was later lifted by the State government. As a result, the oil companies are providing LPG connections to eligible applicants on the basis of affidavits if such persons do not have family cards, the oil company executive says.

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