SC frowns at fuel racket

Published: Wednesday 31 December 2003

Taking cognisance of a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) expos on fuel adulteration in the capital, the Supreme Court (SC) issued notices to the Union government and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) on November 24. They have been given four weeks to file their response.

A three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice V N Khare, Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice Arijit Pasayat, gave the directive when amicus curiae Harish Salve brought to its notice a report that appeared in Down To Earth's November 15, 2003, issue.

The article contained photographic evidence of fuel pilferage and adulteration. Expressing its shock and dismay, the apex court accepted the report as an interim application and passed the order.

CSE's clean air campaigners had earlier photo-documented the illegal activities at the Bijwasan oil depot, from where Delhi gets its fuel supply.

These aspects were highlighted in the DTE report whose excerpts were read out by Salve to indicate the exact nature of the crime. He pointed out that appallingly almost anything -- from waste oil, surplus or pilfered solvents of industrial estates, to even imported cheap kerosene oil -- was mixed with transport fuels.

The apex court gave the directive while hearing a matter regarding the compulsory switchover of all two-wheelers, three-wheelers and motor vehicles to liquefied petroleum gas (lpg) or compressed natural gas (cng) in cities other than Delhi, which are equally polluted.

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