Fuel price row: Mallick concerned over hike in kerosene prices
Kolkata: At a time when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been vocal against the excessive hike in the price of petrol and diesel, state Food and Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick on Monday expressed his concern over the rise in the price of kerosene and said that he will bring it to the notice of the Chief Minister.
"The kerosene price has doubled since 2011, when the Trinamool Congress government had come to power for the first time. I am bringing it to the notice of the Chief Minister that kerosene, which was priced at Rs 12.83 per litre in June 2011, has presently risen to Rs 27.11 per litre. In May 1, the price was Rs 26.57 a litre and in less than a month, the rise has been 50 paise per litre. A large number of rural people are entirely dependent on kerosene for cooking, as they cannot afford an LPG cylinder. They are facing great inconvenience and are struggling to buy kerosene," Mallick said, expressing his concern over the hike in kerosene price.
The minister alleged that the Centre has also drastically brought down the allocation of kerosene in the state.
"When we had come to power for the first time, the kerosene allocation was 90,000 kilolitre (KL). But now, it has come down to 58,000 KL. We had time and again written to the concerned Central ministry, urging them to intervene in the matter and not to decrease the allocation of kerosene in Bengal. But everything has fallen on deaf ears. The situation has turned worse with the price of kerosene also rising by leaps and bounds," the minister said.
Mamata Banerjee herself had requested the Centre to retain the state's earlier kerosene allocation, but was denied. "We have asked kerosene dealers to fight till the end as it hurts the state's lawful rights," Mallick maintained.
It may be mentioned that in 2005, the National Council for Applied Economic Research had carried out a survey to find that Bengal has pilferage of 19.1% in kerosene.
"The ministry of Finance is now claiming that the pilferage in the state was 38%, which is the reason they are attributing for the decrease in allocation. But we have found no basis of their claims," a senior official of the state Food department said.