Hyderabad: About 10 per cent of the 11,659 kilolitres kerosene that the state gets to distribute to 85.87 lakh families having food security cards is diverted to the black market.
The kerosene is used to adulterate petrol and diesel; for use in factories, small paint companies, small scale industries and for use by bitumen road contractors.
Under the government’s ePass system, kerosene is released after biometric authentication of the beneficiary. Using this system, the sale of kerosene has plunged in the GHMC and urban areas of Ranga Reddy district. Five years back, Hyderabad district used to draw about 3,500 kilolitres of kerosene under PDS. After implementation of ePass, the quantity needed fell to 1,869 kilolitres in September 2015 and to 1,100 kilolitres this month.
A ration dealer from Circle-II in the old city said the number of FSCs at this shop fell from 1,600 to 600 after the ePass system eliminated bogus and ineligible beneficiaries.
Despite the obvious savings, ePass has not been implemented elsewhere in the state. This has resulted in kerosene being black-marketed in the city from other districts
This fact came to light from raids conducted by the Vigilance and Enforcement personnel on the city outskirts in 2015, and by the Hyderabad South Zone Task Force police during a raid in January last.
The Cyberabad Special Operations Team arrested 34 persons and seized about 37 kilolitres of kerosene from their possession and lodged 19 cases. The Hyderabad Task Force seized about 25 kilolitres of kerosene last year.
Task Force DCP, B. Limba Reddy and Additional DCP N. Koti Reddy said earlier that the kerosene was being supplied to a few petrol bunks and unauthorised petrol vendors. The use of kerosene to adulterate fuel results in the emission of harmful gases like carbon monoxide while also damaging the vehicle engine.
Civil supplies commissioner C.V. Anand told this newspaper that strict surveillance continues on transport vehicles. “We have increased the number of vigilance teams to curb black marketing. When I was dealing with the Cyberabad Commissionerate, I had formed special teams against black marketers. Similar steps will be taken across the state,” he said....