Black-marketeering of kerosene compounds woes of Salcete ration card holders


 Irregular kerosene quota, improper delivery system, delaying tactics, black-marketeering and poor people’s sufferance, is a common thing in Salcete taluka.
People depending on kerosene for cooking purpose are a worrisome lot today while the black-marketeering of kerosene is conveniently and allegedly going on in Goa.
While three months ago, the kerosene quota was dramatically reduced by 73 per cent by the Centre, probably after observing the misuse and largely black marketeering, which resultantly supplied less kerosene to common man having no LPG connection, many shop keepers and distributors of kerosene in Salcete are silently adding to the woes of the deserving ration card holders, more specially those listed below poverty line (BPL) often saying “quota is not come”.   Averagely, each registered ration card holder is entitled for 3.5 litre of kerosene at the rate of ` 15.50 paise per litre.    
Shop keepers and distributors then allegedly sell the kerosene to small hotels or omelet-pao gaddas and for petrol suppliers for mixing purpose for a much higher price — costlier than the diesel. And the situation compels the poor and regular stove users having no kerosene available on the ration card and no LPG connection for them, to opt for diesel for cooking.
A BPL ration card holder from Margao, Mr V Colaco claims that kerosene is denied to him by the retailer.  “The shop owner often says kerosene is not come,” said Mr Colaco further stating that couple of months ago he went to complain to the civil supplies official (in mamlatdar office, Margao), but the official took the matter lightly. “Later I came to know why.  Some civil supplies officials encourage illegalities and are in hand-in-glove with the distributors and retailers,” alleged Mr Colaco. He said the government should see that the real beneficiary gets his quota at a fixed price.
“If the dealers and distributors are not supplying the required quota to shopkeepers,  how will we (shopkeepers) supply kerosene to all ration card holders in time?,” asked an elderly shopkeeper, who runs a grocery shop with registered kerosene retailing service. He said they (shopkeepers) are often supplied less quota whereas bills are made of actual quota by the distributors. 
A distributor from Salcete claimed that company quota arrives late and that lifting it hurriedly is not possible every time and economically not viable.  Interestingly, this keeps the ball rolling.
“I have not received any complaints from the ration card holders. There was only one complaint which has been solved by my predecessor. If complaint comes, action would be initiated,” said director of civil supplies department, Margao, Mr Vikas Gaunekar. 
Mr Gaunekar, who recently took the charge, assured to monitor the flow of kerosene right from the company quota to ration card holders. He stated that the department is going to be computerised and digitalisation would soon weed out illegalities and misuses.
Sources told ‘The Navhind Times’ that tankers-load of kerosene is being black-marketed in Goa in connivance with officials concerned and therefore there is improper supply of kerosene to the ration card holders. And what perhaps has added to the laxity of the distributors and the retailers is the less margin given to them on kerosene.  Departmental information reveals that each retailer gets 40 paise on one litre while distributor gets little more.  The rates differ from taluka to taluka based on transportation.
The chairman of central vigilance committee on public distribution system (PDS) and the former Supreme Court judge, Justice D P Wadhwa, when visited Goa lamented that 50 per cent of the PDS funds of central government were being diverted for black marketeering.
Monthly quota of around 4.5 lakh litre of kerosene is being sanctioned for Goa at a subsidised rate for distribution to 1,20,000 registered ration card holders. Salcete taluka has, in all, 76, 805 ration card holders and of which 19, 528 are eligible registered ration card holders for kerosene quota of 3.5 litre per card. There are 18 dealers of kerosene of which Salcete has five. The long absence of a civil supplies inspector in Salcete had opened a door to the alleged corruption.  NGOs time and again had raised the issue before the concerned ministers, but all in vain.
“I am going to conduct surprise checks at the distributors and retailers’ outlets,” said Salcete mamlatdar, Ms Triveni Velip. The civil supplies inspector, Mr Biku Gauns, who joined recently, urged people to bring irregularities to his notice. [NT]