Guv douses kerosene row

Iqbal Kirmani

Srinagar: Government of India enhanced the kerosene quota for J&K on Wednesday by over 45 lakh litres after public uproar in the state.
“The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has increased kerosene oil allocation for the 4th quarter (January-March 2015) for the state,” an official spokesman said.
“The allocation has been increased by 4512 KL following Governor NN Vohra’s request to the Ministry of Petroleum in this regard,” he said.
“The Governor has already directed the Divisional Commissioners Kashmir and Jammu to closely monitor both the availability and the prices of all essential commodities, including kerosene oil so that no hardship is caused to the consumers,” the spokesman said.
On Tuesday, Vohra had ordered probe into shortage of kerosene oil in Kashmir Valley following protests and complaints.
Last month, J&K’s k-oil quota was reduced by 33.34 percent over the previous year’s, which was highest among the northern states. The state had received a quota of about 27,024 KL of oil from January 14 to March 14 last year. But for the corresponding period this year, the quota allotted was only 18,012 KL, angering general public and k-oil dealers. The dealers also took to streets to protest the reduction in the quota.
Commission Secretary Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), Baseer Ahmad Khan had justified the reduction in k-oil quota. “Those who have registered gas connections are not entitled to receive kerosene. The decision to reduce the allocation has been taken after deducting consumers who have registered gas connection of different companies,” Khan had told Kashmir Reader on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the enhanced quota hasn’t impressed the k-oil dealers. “The increased quota is only 17 percent of the total allocation which we used to receive, and it makes little difference,” Ghulam Rasool Shah, president Coordination Committee Kerosene Oil Dealers, Kashmir, told Kashmir Reader.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has asked the dealers to cooperate with the administration and disburse the allocated quantity of kerosene among consumers, said Shah.
Shah argued that they distribute kerosene oil to consumers with ration cards only and “no directive has come to us that those who have gas connections shouldn’t get kerosene.”