SC to hear TN plea on reducing kerosene allocation today

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: May 7 2013, 07:56am hrs
The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday the Tamil Nadu governments appeal seeking quashing of the central government circular that reduced the kerosene allocation to the state by 55% since June 2011.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir will hear on Tuesday the states plea against the March 20 circular reducing the kerosene quota for Tamil Nadu. It also alleged that the Centre was adopting an indifferent attitude to the legitimate and genuine demands of the state.

Challenging the basis of the circular, the TN government stated that the reduction of kerosene quota had 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 PDS by the states.

Seeking allotment of a total of 65,140 KL of superior kerosene oil per month against the present reduced quantity of 29,060 KL per month, the state government stated that there was a huge demand for kerosene for cooking and illumination purposes as the power crisis has resulted in extra consumption of kerosene and also increase in the demand especially from poor sections of the society.

Alleging that the Centres decision to reduce the quota has resulted in a severe shortfall, affecting over 83 lakh family card holders, in addition to 15 lakh eligible card holders, the petition said that the unjust and arbitrary under-allocation of kerosene by the Centre to the extent of more than 55% is unjustified.

While Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa had made several representations for enhancing the allocation to 65,140 KL per month, the ministry instead of considering the same had in July 2011 sent a reply stating that the allocation had been reduced in view of the LPG coverage of 77% in the state and also due to lapse of quota allocated and the higher consumption with respect to national average.

However, the state government stated that the reasoning was totally false as the LPG coverage cannot be taken as 77% in the state With the said reduction and insufficient monthly allotment of kerosene made to TN over last two years, the PDS 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, the state government added.

A clarification

With reference to the report LatAm nations seek soft loans as India eyes larger presence, published in the edition dated May 3, the quote in the second paragraph should have been attributed to the Indian ambassador to Colombia. The error is regretted.