KOHIMA: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has revealed that the Nagaland government has violated the Centre’s directives by diverting Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO) to the open market instead of distributing it to the targeted beneficiaries under the Public Distribution System (PDS).
According to the CAG’s report on “Social, Economic, General, and Revenue Sectors” for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2022, the state government is said to have diverted subsidised SKO valued at Rs 19.56 crore or 6113.19 kilo litres (KL) to the open market.
This misconduct was detected after a thorough examination of both central and state data, the report, presented in the Assembly recently, revealed.
The distribution of SKO under the PDS is regulated by the Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG), which allocates SKO to states and union territories (UTs) quarterly. It is mandatory for states to lift their entire allocation within the given quarter, with no carry-forward permitted except in cases of emergencies like natural disasters.
The CAG’s investigation of records from the F&CS Directorate Dimapur in August 2021 revealed that MoPNG had allocated 17,892 KL of SKO to the state during 2019-21. However, the Department reported lifting only 13,752 KL of SKO from IOCL during the same period.
Upon cross-checking the Department’s lifting data with data from the Indian Petroleum & Natural Gas Statistics (2019-21) as well as IOCL’s data in July 2022, it was discovered that the state government had actually lifted 17,367 KL (97.07%) of SKO, resulting in a shortfall of 525 KL during 2019-21. The Department was found to have understated the SKO lifted from IOCL by 3615 KL (17,367 KL – 13,752 KL).
Further investigation revealed that the state government had allocated 4,974 KL of SKO to 51 individuals/distributors, with no available records for the remaining quantity (1139.19 KL).
When these discrepancies were brought to light, the government acknowledged in September 2022 that it had lifted 17,367 KL of SKO, and out of the 12,276 KL allotted for ration cardholders, 11,253.81 KL was lifted, with untilisation certificates furnished for 11,233.79 KL. It was also revealed that 4,974 KL was allocated to individuals.