The government of India has banned the free import of kerosene. Now only designated state-run firms can import the fuel. The ban occurs with immediate effect. Announcing the decision on November 28, 2003 Petroleum minister Ram Naik said he wanted kerosene import to be controlled because it was being used to adulterate diesel. This, he said, had led to a 3.7 per cent fall in diesel sales in April-October, and not the expected three per cent growth.
Subsidised kerosene will continue to be sold through the public distribution system. "The country's genuine kerosene requirement will be met," the minister said, adding that state-run refineries had the capacity to meet other demands.
The government's decision was announced four days after the Supreme Court, reacting in dismay and anger to a Down To Earth expose on fuel adulteration, turned it into a separate petition and asked the government to respond to the shocking findings (see: 'OVERHAUL!', Down To Earth, November 15, 2003).
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