The Tamil Nadu government has moved the Supreme Court against the reduction of kerosene allocation by Centre to the State by 55 per cent from June 2011.
A writ petition, filed by B. Balaji, counsel, Tamil Nadu, said “there is no basis for the reduction of kerosene and it has been made on flimsy grounds. The kerosene is allocated under the PDS SKO (Public Distribution System-Superior Kerosene Oil) by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and it is being distributed to family card holders under the Public Distribution System by States.”
The petition said: “There is a huge demand for kerosene in Tamil Nadu for cooking. It is also used for illumination purpose as the State is facing acute shortage of electricity. The power crisis has resulted in extra consumption of kerosene and also increased the demand from all quarters of the society. The most affected is the poor/downtrodden section of the society. The required quota for the State is 65,140 KL per month. The quantum of allotment for the State has been periodically reduced to 29,060 KL per month and this has resulted in a severe shortfall, affecting over 83 lakh family card holders, in addition to 15 lakh eligible card holders.”
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa made several representations for enhancing the allocation to 65,140 KL per month. Instead of considering the same, the Centre on July 22, 2011 sent a reply that in view of the LPG coverage of 77 per cent in the State, and due to lapse of quota allocated and the higher consumption with respect to national average, the allocation was reduced.
The petition said: “the reasoning is totally false as the LPG coverage cannot be taken as 77% in the State. The Centre is adopting an indifferent attitude to the legitimate and genuine demands of Tamil Nadu. With the said reduction and insufficient monthly allotment of kerosene made to Tamil Nadu over last two years, the Public Distribution System in the State has been subjected to severe stress. It will be very difficult for the State to meet the genuine requirements of kerosene for the card holders.”
It said “the unjust and arbitrary under-allocation of kerosene by the Centre to the extent of more than 55% is unjustified. Unfortunately the allotment of kerosene which mostly caters to the needs of the section of the society who fall in the category of below poverty line (BPL), has been reduced drastically month after month without any basis or reason.”
On March 20, the Centre informed the Department of Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Tamil Nadu, that for the State of Tamil Nadu there would be a reduction in the allotment of kerosene from 39,429 KL to 29,060 KL per month for the quarter April – June, 2013.
The State sought a direction to quash the circular dated March 20 reducing the kerosene quota as far Tamil Nadu is concerned and consequently direct the Centre to allot a total of 65,140 KL of Superior Kerosene Oil per month to the State.