Black-market operations in LPG are rampant: Former Minister Ram Naik

7:20 PM, Thursday, April 28th, 2011

BJP Ram NaikMangalore : ‘India is facing two very serious problems, prolonged spell of spiraling prices and all- round corruption. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh should demonstrate courage and political will to formulate Petroleum Policy and implement it’, stated Shri Ram Naik, Bharatiya Janath Party leader and former Petroleum Minister. He was addressing the press meet held at BJP office on April 28, Thursday.
Elaborating his views, he said that ‘India imports 70 % of her crude oil requirements. The volatility of crude oil prices is extremely high in the international market. It has natural impact on the Indian economy. It is there fore necessary to have a petroleum policy which will insulate the economy as well as the consumers. While the current petrol prices have 50% component of Import duty, excise duty, sales tax etc. Diesel prices have 33% taxes. It is the national interest to reduce these taxes by evolving and appropriate petroleum policy. The million dollar question is whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, The eminent economist poses the political will. The fact that the country has seen pre petroleum minister in last six years speaks volumes about his mismanagement.
“There is an acute scarcity of LPG cooking gas cylinders all over the country. It takes more than a month to get a replacement cylinder. In Vajpayee Government we gave more than 4 crore new connections and cylinders used to be delivered with in 24 hours without charging any additional price.
The black-market operations are rampant. We had also introduced 5kg small size cylinders for the benefit of people in hilly areas and also lower income groups in rural areas and city slum, so that they become affordable. The congress government has discontinued the scheme and these cylinders are being sold at commercial rates. Even after discussing the matter with petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy on 18th March.
However there is no perceptible change in the situation, he added.
The lack of political will take a serious causality when oil mafia in Maharastria burnt alive a Deputy Collector who attempted to catch oil adulterators red handed. While working as petroleum minister I had constituted an anti adulteration cell with regional officers in all the states. The campaign yielded results and adulteration activities were considerably reduced. However, as soon as Dr Manmohan Singh took over the anti-adulteration cell was disbanded.
While giving one more example of lack of political will he said that in order to reduce dependence on imported crude oil and also to have supplementary source of supply, Vajpayee government introduced Ethanol, which is by-product of sugar cane molasses. This would have also added to the income of sugar cane farmers. In the first stage we started blending 5% ethanol in petrol in sugar cane producing states. In the second state it was to be increased to 10% in all the government succumbed to the pressure of liquor lobby and discontinued ethanol blending on petrol. After a lapse of six years they are now reconsidering the issue.
Sudhir P Ghate, Chairman of Magnum Intergrafiks Limited welcomed the gathering. MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, Ramachandra Baikampady, pre4sident of KFDC, Srikar Prabhu and others were present.

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