GoI asks states to earmark suitable land for SC/STs to set up petro dealerships

Srinagar: The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas announced on Friday  asked Chief Ministers to earmark suitable land for providing petro-products dealership to Scheduled caste/ Scheduled tribe candidates.
Various petro-products, namely petrol and diesel, are distributed through dealerships allotted mostly to individuals by the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).
The companies have a laid down procedure for selecting dealers. Provision for proportionate representation to candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe is also provided for. This is part of the affirmative action envisaged by the companies for the benefit of candidates belonging to SC/ST communities.
A review of the performance of the OMCs on this account was undertaken by by Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
According to a release, the minister noticed that for locations earmarked for SC/ST candidates, the response was not satisfactory, essentially on account of non-availability of land. This was attributable to the traditional exclusion of such communities from land ownership.
It was observed that during 2014-15, 5,994 locations were advertised specifically for the benefit of such candidates. Against the said advertisement, response was received with respect to only 2,906 locations, accounting for 48.5% of the locations. For 3,088 locations, there was no response. There are also another 658 pending cases where Letters of Intent were issued. But, on account of non-availability of land, the said outlets could not be commissioned.
Therefore, with a view to ensuring that the individuals belonging to such communities do not suffer on account of lack of access to land, the Minister has written to all Chief Ministers to earmark suitable land for the purpose and requested land may be provided at concessional rates. The OMCs will take such land on lease from the government, will undertake necessary construction on the said land and also provide working capital loan for starting commercial operations.
In all 3,745 individuals belonging to SC/ST communities will be provided with avenues of employment and economic empowerment.
It is a first of its kind concerted initiative for creating entrepreneurship in the SC/ST community for which necessary co-operation has been sought from the respective state governments, the release said.