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Govt revives PDS kerosene marker to curb adulteration

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GPS tracking system, online updates of daily dispatch on cards.

Strong message:The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Jaipal Reddy, with the Minister of State, Mr R.P.N. Singh, at a press conference, in the Capital on Thursday.
Strong message:The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Jaipal Reddy, with the Minister of State, Mr R.P.N. Singh, at a press conference, in the Capital on Thursday.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Jan. 27

To curb the diversion of subsidised petroleum products and adulteration of auto fuel, the Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Gas has decided to re-introduce the marker system, promote use of a GPS-based vehicular tracking system, and use of online updates on daily dispatch of PDS kerosene.

In the wake of the Additional Collector of Malegaon (Maharashtra), Mr Yashwant Sonawane, being burnt to death while trying to stop pilferage of petroleum products, the Petroleum Minister, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy, reviewed the diversion in subsidised petroleum products and adulteration of auto fuel here on Thursday.

The Minister strongly condemned the incident and announced that Rs 25 lakh will be given to the family as ex-gratia relief from the public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs).

He added: “This incident has once again highlighted the problem of adulteration of kerosene. There is therefore a need to respond to this problem in systemic terms. We had a meeting with the oil companies and have taken some policy decisions.”

June deadline

By June the OMCs should be in a position to re-introduce the marker programme for PDS kerosene, he said, adding that, “We are aware that when the marker system prevailed for a couple of years, it was found to be somewhat effective. However, there were some complaints about its safety and the system was withdrawn.

“Now, the OMCs have been directed that they should be in a position to re-introduce within six months the marker programme for PDS kerosene,” he said.

GPS system

He also urged the State Governments to adopt the GPS system used by OMCs as a preventive mechanism.

“Under GPS, if a truck stops at a point for more than a period of time, it is considered time deviation. In case a truck adopts a wrong route it will be routed under GPS as route deviation. The same GPS system can be adopted by the States. We are prepared to lend technological and management support at our costs to the State Government to enable them to introduce GPS.”

The Minister also said the OMCs are in the process of developing a system through which daily dispatch of PDS SKO from every depot, details of trucks transporting them and destination of dispatch can be monitored online.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 28, 2011)
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