Foul play alleged in supply of fuel to fishing boats
The All Kerala Boat Operators’ Association allege that the quantity of the fuel supplied to the fishing boats is being manipulated by the operators, with the connivance of the oil companies and legal metrology department officials, at the marine diesel outlets.
Association state general secretary Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal said that they would approach the Ministry of Petroleum to bring the issue to the notice of the Union Government. He also alleged that the oil companies and legal metrology department had ignored a complaint filed by them in this regard.
As per the figures available with the association, there are around 2,500 fishing boats and 750 boats fitted with inboard engines.
There are 76 diesel outlets across the coastline of Kerala, of which 50 are consumer outlets. These pumps meet two-third of the total fuel requirement in Kerala. Around 17.6 crore litres of diesel are sold to fishing boats annually.“Most fishermen venture out into the sea after filling the tank to the maximum. What we have come to know is that the operators manipulate, up to 100 litres, during the filling process. “We suspect that they have tampered with the metres,” he said. “It is easy to cheat fishermen who have very little technical knowledge,” Joseph Xavier pointed out.
We have information from reliable sources that a share of the money earned in this regard go to the officials at the Legal Metrology and oil companies.
When contacted, Controller of Legal Meteorology P Baburaj said that the issue was not brought into his notice. “Instructions will be given out to regional officers across the state to look into the matter,” he said.