Letters

Kerosene adulteration

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Jaipal Reddy has stated that decontrol of kerosene prices is not politically and practically feasible (Jan. 28). The huge subsidy for kerosene sold through PDS is the main reason the kerosene mafia is thriving. Just as devaluation of the rupee and a reduction in the import duty of gold made gold smuggling unprofitable, a well-thought out policy on the pricing of kerosene, coupled with other measures, can wipe out the adulteration of petrol and diesel.

The rationale for subsidised pricing of kerosene was to provide cheap fuel where electrification was not prevalent. But it is given to all ration card holders as a cooking fuel as well. Thus, even in States where electrification is near-total, kerosene is given at highly subsidised prices. When there is no subsidy for firewood, charcoal or cow-dung cakes, generally used as fuel in rural and semi-urban areas, what is the justification for subsidising superior kerosene oil (SKO)? While foodgrains and vegetables should be cheap, fuel should be made expensive. Unfortunately, it is the reverse.

C.S. Jacob,

Mumbai

Kerosene adulteration is unique to India. The solution could lie in classical industrial chemistry research. Since its main intended use is as a domestic fuel for the poor, research should be undertaken to identify chemicals that could be blended/doped with kerosene in two-five per cent levels and still make it usable as fuel. But when used in automotive/industrial engines in admixture with diesel, furnace oil or other commercial fuels, even in small percentages, it should damage the engine. The incentive to adulterate diesel would thus disappear.

M. Balakrishnan,

Hyderabad


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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 10:11:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/Kerosene-adulteration/article15537010.ece

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