New Delhi: With Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi taking up their cause, the Oil Ministry on Friday issued orders saying diesel for fishermen boats will be available at subsidised rates. Diesel-run fishing boats are treated by oil companies as bulk users of the fuel and were charged almost Rs 10 more than the petrol pump price since the January 17 decision of the government to sell the most consumed fuel in the country at market rates to bulk users.
Sources said fishermen were opposed to paying anything more than Rs 53.71 per litre, the price of diesel at petrol pumps in Mumbai, on plea that market priced fuel would make their business unviable. Their cause was taken up by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to the recently appointed Congress Vice President. Gandhi, they said, made a phone call to Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily who willingly changed the classification of fishermen.
A statement issued by the Oil Ministry this evening said Moily has agreed that "fishermen are individual customer and not bulk customers for receiving supplies from oil marketing companies". "Supply to fishermen would be treated as retail supply on subsidy with immediate effect," it quoted Moily as saying. Bulk users like railways, defence and state transport corporations pay more than Rs 10 a litre more for diesel they should directly from oil companies.