Staff Reporter

It is meant to stop black marketing of subsidised kerosene

Several vehicles using the subsidised kerosene were seized

Fearing disputes some panchayats have refused to accept the licence

BERHAMPUR: Private licence holders for retailing of kerosene in rural areas are being put off in Orissa to end black marketing of subsidised kerosene, which is meant for the poor.

The panchayat bodies of the State would be provided with exclusive licences for retail sell of subsidised kerosene in their area. The process to implement it has already been started in Ganjam district, the home district of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. No licence of private kerosene retailers in the district has been renewed for the current year . The officials are motivating and persuading the panchayat bodies to take the responsibility of kerosene distribution in their area.

The in-charge Civil Supplies Officer (CSO) of Ganjam district, Satyaranjan Sahu said that it is an effort to stop black marketing of subsidised kerosene. Several buses and trucks, which were using kerosene meant for subsidised public distribution, have been seized in the district during the past few months. In most of the cases the kerosene used by these vehicles had come from some private kerosene retailer. It is felt that there would be less chance of black marketing of kerosene when it would be distributed through the panchayat bodies as rival groups in the panchayat would bring in extra accountability.

But Mr. Sahu also added that due to fear of quarrels and allegations some panchayat bodies fear to accept the licence for kerosene retailing. In those cases the administration plans to hand over the kerosene retail license of the area to the interested Women Self Help Groups (WSHG).

Administrative officers feel that this move would also reduce violent clashes and tussles in rural areas. In villages kerosene retail license is attached to political clout so usually issue of kerosene retail license to someone led to violent tussles.

Recently some gunmen had opened fire in front of Dharakote block office in Ganjam district and killed two persons. This incident was related to the tussle over issue of kerosene retail license to private parties in the block.