Fighting the menace of adulterated diesel

Vol 7, PW 19 (03 Dec 03) News in Brief

Last week, India's commerce and industries ministry announced that only state oil companies and the State Trading Corporation will be allowed to import kerosene, reversing a 1992-93 move to allow private firms to import kerosene.

The oil ministry said the restriction was essential to combat the menace of kerosene used to adulterate diesel. Separately, PETROWATCH learns oil minister Ram Naik has asked finance minister Jaswant Singh to hike 'excise duty' on imported kerosene by Rs1.5 per litre and import duty by 5% to 25%, "at the earliest".

Naik reveals private imports of kerosene between April and September were 552,000 tonnes, or 73% higher than last year. "Most of these imports are being misused and are replacing the diesel demand in the country," he said.

In India, it is common for unscrupulous traders, in alliance with corrupt elements within state and private oil companies to blend kerosene with expensive diesel for sale to motorists.