Saturday, August 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Adulterated diesel supply up due to drought
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
With several states reeling under drought and farmers resorting to increased use of diesel for irrigation purposes, there is a spurt in adulteration of the popular fuel.

Adulteration goes on undetected in several rural areas of North India, including Punjab, because there are no adequate facilities to detect it, sources in a public sector oil unit said.

The result of adulterated diesel: Jammed motors and damage to tractor engines.

According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), diesel retail outlets indulge in intelligent adulteration, making it almost impossible to detect it.

For instance the CSE had undertaken an independent inspection of fuel adulteration in Delhi a few months ago. It reported that the government owned fuel testing laboratory in New Delhi gave a clean chit to decoy diesel samples that CSE deliberately contaminated with 10 and 20 per cent kerosene to check if the lab would catch it.

Oil industry sources said it is this kind of intelligent adulteration that allows the adulterators to go scot free.

With kerosene still being sold cheaper than petrol and diesel it continues to be the best adulterant. Light diesel oil and naptha is also widely used for adulteration.

According to the CSE, intelligent mix of common adulterants like kerosene and light diesel oil with diesel or naptha and other solvents with petrol may not show up in routine standard tests. Yet a small mix of 10-15 per cent without violating the standards can help to reap lucrative profits as much as Rs 25,000 profit a day just by mixing 15 per cent naptha with petrol.

In addition to the adulteration done at retail outlets, poor farmers also tend to mix additives in diesel to minimise costs. Even used lubricant oil is being used for mixing and increasing the quantity.

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