“The incident has once again highlighted the problem of kerosene being used for adulteration. There is need to respond to the problem in systematic terms,” Union Minister for Petroleum and natural Gas S Jaipal Reddy said here.
The kerosene marker system, which was withdrawn in 2009, will be reintroduced in the next six months, he announced.
Under the system, an “improved” chemical marker will be doped in kerosene to make its mixing with diesel “near impossible”, he said, adding that oil companies through in-house research have found an effective marker. The kerosene marker system was introduced in 2006 under which a dye sourced from US firm Authentix was doped in the subsidised fuel distributed under public distribution system.
“We are aware that the marker system prevailed for a couple of years, it was found to be somewhat effective. However, there were some complaints about its safety (and so) the system was withdrawn,” the minister said.
The huge difference between the cost of kerosene and diesel makes the subsidised fuel lucrative for diverting for mixing it in diesel as a litre of kerosene costs Rs 12.32 a litre while diesel is at Rs 37.75 a litre.
Reddy underlined that it was the duty of the state governments to see that subsidised fuel is not diverted and suggested that they should use GPS-based vehicular tracking system to track vehicles used for transporting subsidised kerosene as is “successfully” done by oil marketing companies.