SME WORLD Ahmedabad Bureau
Threat of unemployment is looming over more than two lakh people working with Kerosene dealers across the country due to the central government's policy. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, under its vision 2015 is promoting use of domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and insisting Kerosene consumers to compulsorily switch over to use LPG as cooking medium. In the process, the ministry is regularly indulging in drastic cuts in the PDS Kerosene resulting in greatly hampering of Kerosene wholesale dealers' business.
There are 6600 wholesale dealers across the country appointed by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) under guidance of the Ministry for distribution of PDS Kerosene to retailers. For most of these dealers, who are fall under the MSEs space, the business of Kerosene distribution is generations old.
“All these years the dealers have not only made investments and worked hard to create infrastructure and obtained explosive license but also toiled for other statutory permits applicable to deal in petroleum products. Moreover, they have created a large customer base, which they are losing because of the policy,” says Arvind Thakker, President of All India Kerosene Dealers' Federation (AIKDF).
Due to unrealistic cuts, many dealers' monthly Kerosene quotas have gone down well below the viable level of 75 KL per month fixed by the OMCs and are struggling to hold on their business, lament Shiv Kalra (Himachal Pradesh) and B.R. Tiwari (Punjab), Federation's Committee Members.
Survival at Stake
Situation in Delhi is worst compared to other parts of the country. The quota in Delhi was reduced by 80 per cent and the Delhi Government found it difficult to distribute mere 20 per cent to the needy and poor consumers. The dealers in Delhi have made several requests to the concern authorities to retrieve the quota. “Since they didn't get the quota following Delhi Government's decision to declare the national capital as “Zero Kerosene” city, Delhi SKO dealers and their employees have abruptly become jobless,” says Delhi-based Sushil Vadhera, General Secretary, AIKDF.
According to M.C. Mayappan who represents the Federation in Tamil Nadu, the plight of dealers in other states is deteriorating in states like Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Union Territory Chandigarh where the quota is cut by almost 60 per cent. As a result, many dealerships are on the verge of closing down their shutters.
Since the Kerosene consumers are converted into LPG consumers and to cater them new LPG distributors are required, Kerosene dealers approached the Ministry to consider direct award of LPG distributorship to Kerosene dealers whose business has become unviable.
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