Govt comes down on petrol black market

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IMPHAL, Oct 18: Unhappy with the public distribution system and sale of petroleum products in the state, a team of the officials of the Union home secretary led by the joint secretary home, (North East in-charge), raided various areas of Imphal East district to check hoarding of black market petroleum products.

The raid was conducted at Sangakpham, Lamlong bazaar and Palace Gate area of Imphal East with the assistance of Manipur Rifle personnels.

However, the team did not seize any petrol and diesel but detected trails of black marketeering of petrol and diesel in bulk. The team also found some quantity of petrol and diesel stored for black marketeering.

It is pertinent to note that the raid came barely an hour after the Union home secretary G K Pillai told a development seminar held for Imphal East at Classic Hotel that the manner in which patrol was sold at Rs. 100 to 110 per litre in black market while almost all the pumps were closed.

“This black marketeering is unacceptable. Release of fuel to the public should be transparent and there should be accountability. The prices should come down and normal rate should be made available to the public. We will ensure that there is normal supply in the coming week,” Pillai told the gathering comprising officials from home ministry, ministry of Doner, NEC and Manipur government.

This is a strong warning to Ibobi Singh government that the Centre would not remain silent to black marketeering of fuel in the state. He followed up his warning by sending his joint secretary and other officials to carry out the raids.

Reports said that GK Pillai and Sambhu Singh met the consumer affairs, food and public distribution Yumkham Erabot Singh and officials of the IOC in Imphal branch to discuss the fuel situation in the state.

Though there is no blockade in Manipur after the United Naga Council suspended its blockade on September 18 and fuel tankers coming regularly on national highway-39 (Imphal-Dimapur) however the majority of the retail outlets remained closed most of the time and people have to stand in long queues before pumps opened for few days in a week. One litre of petrol is currently sold anything from Rs 65 to 80 in black market.

The consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister Y Erabot Singh maintained that because of frequent landslides along Imphal-Dimapur highway free supply of fuel was disrupted. The minister maintained that the present stock would last only two days.

The home ministry officials were not convinced with the explanation and maintained that the quantity of petrol brought in Manipur during August, September and October this year was more than the quantity brought in during the same months last year.

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