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Centre justifies reduced allocation of PDS kerosene to T.N. TAMIL NADU Mohamed Imranullah S.CHENNAI 26 FEBRUARY 2020 00:55 ISTUPDATED: 26 FEBRUARY 2020 00:55 IST State has achieved very high LPG coverage and 100% electricity supply, Union govt. tells HC The Central government has told the Madras High Court that it has substantially reduced the quantity of kerosene allocated to Tamil Nadu only because the State has achieved a very high rate of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) coverage, besides ensuring 100% electricity supply to households, as per the latest statistics. Justice C.V. Karthikeyan was told by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas that the number of LPG connections in the State had increased from 174.30 lakh out of 203.20 lakh households as of July 1, 2017, to 209.51 lakh out of 210.71 lakh households as of December 1, 2019. The court was informed that as per the dashboard of the Union Ministry of Power, electricity coverage in Tamil Nadu had increased from 99.98% as of October 10, 2017, to 100% as of March 31, 2019. After recording these submissions, the judge dismissed a writ petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Kerosene Dealers’ Association. Advertising Advertising In its affidavit, the association expressed concern over the Centre having reduced the allotment of kerosene to the State from 48,444 kl to 32,292 kl per quarter, to be supplied through the public distribution system (PDS). This had affected licensed wholesale dealers, who had invested a huge amount of money on creating infrastructure, it said. The association alleged that there had been gross discrimination in per capita allocation of kerosene, with the Centre adopting varying standards for different States with Gujarat being given 17.2 litres per head, Goa – 16.2 litres, Maharashtra – 14.7 litres, Chandigarh – 14.9 litres, West Bengal – 11.1 litres and Tamil Nadu – just 6 litres per head..It was claimed that every consumer was entitled to an equal amount of kerosene under the Tamil Nadu Kerosene Control Order of 1973 and that the wholesale dealers were being forced to undergo heavy losses despite having invested huge amount of money for purchasing lands, constructing storage tanks and setting up machinery. On its part, the Centre filed a detailed counter affidavit and justified the reduction in allocation to the State on the ground that it had been done on the basis of studies conducted a per the Superior Kerosene Oil Control Order of 1993. It stated that Centre basically allocated kerosene to different States only for cooking and illumination purposes. Public sector oil marketing companies had to bear huge subsidies to the tune of ₹30,574 crore in 2013-14; ₹24,799 crore in 2014-15 and ₹11,496 crore in 2015-16. However, now that people were shifting to use of LPG, which was a relatively cleaner and environment-friendly fuel, the Centre had been reducing the quantity of kerosne allocation, it said. Taking note of these submissions, the judge said the court could not examine the policy of the Centre while exercising its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. The petitioner association also do not enjoy any fundamental right to seek or compel the Centre to allocate a particular quantity of kerosene as desired by them, he added.