ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has acknowledged that mixing of kerosene oil with diesel has been on the rise and influential people are involved in this illegal business to make hefty profits.
“Sale of spurious auto fuel is increasing and it is almost going out of control,” Petroleum Secretary Arshad Mirza told the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources in a meeting on Thursday.
PSO suggests kerosene price hike to prevent adulteration
He suggested that the price of kerosene oil may be increased to discourage its mixing and make it financially unviable, but the proposal drew the ire of parliamentarians.
“People having wide influence are engaged in making shortcut profits by blending kerosene oil and diesel,” he said.
He also outlined the measures being taken by the petroleum ministry to stem fuel adulteration including meetings with representatives of oil marketing companies.
Government officials insisted that the blending of kerosene oil and diesel was not the outcome of any shortfall in diesel supply in the country. However, in terms of prices, there was a difference of around Rs32 per litre between rates of kerosene oil and diesel.
At present, the price of diesel, the largest-selling petroleum fuel in the country, stands at around Rs75 per litre.
Committee Chairman Mir Israrullah Zehri and Senator Fateh Muhammad Hassani asked officials of the petroleum ministry and representatives of oil marketing companies why they did not suggest reducing the diesel price.
After getting no satisfactory answer, Zehri asked the petroleum ministry about the action taken against the oil marketing companies and filling stations selling the adulterated fuel.
“I can tell you names of petrol pumps … that are selling either adulterated diesel or smuggled petrol and diesel,” he said.
Hassani revealed that he had received reports from local people who said that tankers of various oil companies were moving in the border areas without any check.
“They bring smuggled Iranian petrol and diesel and supply it to their respective pumps,” he claimed, adding “the worst thing is that you people sitting in Islamabad make faulty decisions and give us lame excuses.”
Refineries mix cheaper oils with diesel, make billions
He pointed out that a petroleum ministry official had told him that the smuggling issue would be taken up with the border control agencies. “This is one solution, but what has happened to the plan of installing trackers on each tanker,” he asked.
Senator Mir Muhammad Yousuf Badini voiced concern over the supply of spurious fuel, saying it was being sold openly in Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2016.
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