The Tamil Nadu government today urged the Centre to instruct the Finance Ministry to reconsider its decision to scrap supply of subsidised kerosene through the public distribution system and to restore monthly allocation of the fuel to the state.
Referring to media reports that the Finance Ministry has taken a decision to scrap the supply of subsidised kerosene through the public distribution system, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi said such a decision would create hardships to the state.
“If the Government of India is actually contemplating such a harsh and punitive measure, it would impose considerable hardship on the people of a state like Tamil Nadu”, he said.
Recalling the memorandum submitted to Modi by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa seeking to increase the monthly allocation of kerosene to Tamil Nadu to its full requirement of 65,140 kilolitres per month, Panneerselvam said “presently the allotment of PDS kerosene to Tamil Nadu, after 10 successive reductions from the level of 59,780 kilo litres prevalent in March 2010 stands at 29,056 kilo litres”.
“This causes considerable hardship to poor and middle class people in the state who are the main users of kerosene. In many parts of Tamil Nadu, particularly in rural areas, most households use kerosene as the main cooking fuel”, he said.
Noting that most households which have LPG connections even in urban areas have only single cylinder connection and kerosene is the only supplementary fuel, Panneerselvam said.
He said Tamil Nadu strongly opposed monetizing and transferring in cash the subsidy element of PDS articles, including kerosene, as the concern is not the quantum of subsidy but the availability of commodities.
“I strongly urge you to instruct the Ministry of Finance to reconsider any such proposal to scrap the supply of subsidised kerosene through the PDS and also to transfer the subsidy element by cash or other alternatives”, he said.
He requested Modi to restore Tamil Nadu’s monthly kerosene allocation to its full requirement of 65,140 Kilo litres per month in order to ensure the poor and the middle classes are saved from ‘unnecessary hardships’.