New Delhi, Nov. 28: The government has banned the import of kerosene oil by private marketers as the cooking fuel was being increasingly misused for adulterating diesel.
A notification issued by the director general of foreign trade says only Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and IBP will be allowed to import kerosene.
State Trading Corporation (STC) has also been nominated as a state trading enterprise for supplies of kerosene to advance licence holders.
In 1992-93, the government had allowed import and marketing of superior kerosene oil by private parallel marketers as there was a shortage of the cooking fuel in the country due to the limited refining capacity of the national oil companies.
This scenario has changed with several new oil refineries going on stream. There is now an excess refining capacity in the country. As a result, there is no real need to import kerosene.
However, parallel marketers had stepped up the import of kerosene to 665,000 tonnes in first the seven months of the current fiscal from 396,000 tonnes in the same period of the previous year.
The national oil companies have been complaining to the petroleum ministry that diesel sales had fallen as large quantities of kerosene was being mixed with the transport fuel.
Petroleum minister Ram Naik said, “State governments had failed to control the adulteration of diesel and the ban on kerosene imports will help to check the menace.''
The adulteration was reported to be more pronounced in the coastal states where the transport costs of imports are lower.