From our Correspondent
Digboi, October 25: Easy procurement and availability of PDS blue kerosene oil in the open market at prices much higher than what has been fixed by the government, has grabbed the attention of the people of Digboi.
SK Oil is one of the items under the Public Distribution System (PDS). According to sources, the PDS agents who collect their monthly quota from the whole seller hardly bother to distribute the item to the beneficiaries, particularly in rural areas. The agents sell the SK Oil in the open market and urban businessmen, including grocers and contractors, purchase it at a much higher price than the prevailing government rate and further sell it in the market.
A person who buys PDS SK Oil from an agent who employs a middleman in an open market, said that he buys the oil at the rate of Rs 35 per litre and sells to people at Rs 45-Rs 50 per litre. Four full barrels of SK Oil were transported to his shop and delivered in broad daylight.
On the other hand, confirmed source said that a large network of black marketers operate in the town who collect the common people’s essential commodities and divert the same in various sectors, including the running of machinery and fuelling the telecom towers across the
district after mixing the PDS SK Oil with diesel, quite contrary to the norms of the government that the utilization of SK Oil is solely meant for cooking and lighting purpose.
The supply inspectors of the department concerned hardly visit or inspect the PDS units which encourages the agents to openly sell the essential items in the open market, thereby depriving the poor beneficiaries. The role of the vigilance committee too is under the scanner. The vigilance committee is expected to check the misuse of SK Oil after it receives the copy of the block wise or town wise distribution of the same and report the anomalies if found accordingly to the c department oncerned.
An overall study of several areas, including the rural pockets, revealed that the beneficiaries are fooled by the agents with their baseless excuse that there is no supply of SK Oil for the current month or for few months or that the government has stopped its allocation. But records show that agents, barring a month or so, have collected the items.
SK Oil under PDS is blue-dyed in colour. This is done in order to differentiate the PDS kerosene from the open market kerosene which is white in colour and much higher in price. This helps in checking the sale of PDS kerosene in the open market.