Blue Kerosene Sold On Black Market in Diphu
By Sushanta Roy
PDS Kerosene For Rs. 40.00 Per Liter
Diphu: Blue kerosene meant for persons below the poverty line, supported financially by the government and distributed through the "Food and Civil Supply" department under "Public Distribution System" is openly sold at 300% cost above the government rate. The approved retail outlet has stunned the genuine beneficiaries who have to stand in long queues every month, for hours to purchase 1.5 litre oil at Rs14.25.
The grievance of authentic recipients exceeds the endurable limit at the site of black-marketers and hoarders selling kerosene worth Rs. 14.25 at Rs. 40/- per liter.
Black Market Kerosene in Bakulia
This is a regular observable fact in Bakulia town, around 60 kilometers from Diphu. The center of the trade is just in the facade of Bakulia LAMPS (large size multipurpose cooperative society). Here any quantity of blue kerosene can be purchased at soaring price by any person who agrees to pay the amount asked.
It may be mentioned here that government controlled kerosene for sale through PDS was changed to blue in order to prevent sell in black-markets, but with full backing of a section of officials of PDS the hoarders are earning Rs. 25.75/- per litre of kerosene at the cost of BPL family to fill their coffers. Not only it is sold openly by the side of the road but number of groceries around Bakulia LAMPS also sells government controlled blue kerosene against the law.
"We get a steady supply of kerosene from the party, whatever is our requirement the party can carry out the delivery, and we need not worry about that," said one of the grocers, on the condition of anonymity.
When this reporter insisted on knowing the identity of the supplying party, the cautious grocer denied it and would not divulge any further information.
One of the local BPL card holders informed us that the LAMPS authority distributes 1.5 liter kerosene per cards one day each month through retail outlets, on a particular day. If any beneficiary fails to collect kerosene on the scheduled day, the retailer denies him the sale of the controlled rate kerosene the following day, which is extremely necessary for the rural population to keep their night lamps burning; particularly for students.
Normally Outspoken Student Organizations Are Silent
"One can assume that the PDS officials are hand-in-glove with the hoarders and black-marketers but where are the other enforcing agencies? Bizarrely enough when half a dozen student organizations are active in our locality and do not let pass a chance to raise their voice on any issue be it local or international, immoral or illicit, financial or political; why have they turned a blind eye to this unholy business, particularly when it is hampering the interest of poor students who depend on oil lamps for learning," Ramesh Chauhan a senior citizen of the locality said.
Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them. Read more stories by Sushanta Roy.
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