Centre again cuts down State’s kerosene quota by half

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Central Government has cut down the State’s share for kerosene by half from the new financial year starting April 1, 2023. The move will impact the traditional fishers who use kerosene to power their outboard engines.

This is the second straight year that Kerala is facing the blow as the Centre had cut down the kerosene supplies last year also.

The quota of kerosene to be distributed through the Public Distribution System (PDS) has been reduced from 3,888 kilolitres (38.88 lakh litres) to 1,944 kilolitres (19.44 lakh litres).

The quota of kerosene received for non-PDS distribution – for the fishing sector – has been cut down from 2,160 kilo litres (21.60 lakh litres) to 1,296 kilo litres (12.96 lakh litres).

The reduction in kerosene quota resulted in the State managing to supply only three months of kerosene to over 14,000 permitted fishers. Even then, the government could not provide the entire quota of fule as per the permit, government sources said.

With the quota further reduced from last year, the fishermen will have to procure kerosene from the open market for a higher price or abandon fishing altogether, may fear.

The cutback would also mean that the half-a-litre of kerosene distributed through ration shops for cardholders once every three months would also have to be discontinued.

The latest move is part of the Centre’s policy to reduce the use of kerosene in the country in a phased manner.

However, in Kerala, a high percentage of traditional fishers use kerosene-fuelled outboard engines. Most fishermen are reluctant to switch to advanced techniques and systems in fishing owing to the huge investment required.

As per the order issued in 2012, the Union Petroleum Ministry allows the use of kerosene for the fishing and farming sectors without restrictions. The new move subverts these rules, experts say.

However, the situation is also be seen as a failure on part of the State’s representatives in the Parliament to raise the issue and draw the Centre’s attention.

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