54 lorries carrying subsidised kerosene seized across State

 The Food and Civil Supplies department has seized 54 subsidised kerosene-transporting lorries, including three that were diverting the fuel, in various parts of the State, and registered cases against all those involved under the Essential Commodities Act.

Disclosing this to reporters, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, Dinesh Gundu Rao, said the department officials caught the drivers of the three lorries “red-handed” when they were unloading kerosene meant to be distributed to the poor under the Public Distribution System (PDS) at tar-mixing plants.

Each lorry had 12,000 litres of kerosene. Every litre of PDS kerosene carries a subsidy of Rs 50. The dealers who were allegedly diverting the fuel are B G Shettru and Nandeeshwara (both from Chitradurga) and Maruthi Services (Kunigal). The name of the tar-mixing plant is C K D Tar Plant, close to Tavarekere near Bangalore. After filling up lorries with fuel at oil terminals, the dealers had diverted the vehicles to the black market. 

As per the rule book, the lorries have to supply kerosene to PDS shops, the minister said.

Besides, the department has seized 51 kerosene-transporting lorries in various parts of the State for using PDS kerosene to run the vehicles. 

“These cases show kerosene is being misused systematically in the State. The
 government will take stringent action against all those involved,” the minister said.

The government distributes a total of 45,000 kilolitres of kerosene every month to about 95 lakh BPL card holders. With an intention to prevent the misuse of kerosene, the minister said, the department had decided to introduce electronic benefit transfer system in the State.
 Under the system, the subsidy amount will be deposited in the consumers’ bank accounts directly. 

The pilot project has been already launched in Mysore, Tumkur and Hubli-Dharwad taluks. There are plans to extend it across the State in August, he said.

This apart, plans are on the cards to stop the supply of kerosene to Above Poverty Line (APL) card holders in rural areas. It has been already done in the urban areas, he said.

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