Bhopal, June 11: In the ongoing standoff between the Congress-led UPA government and the BJP on the recent hike in petroleum prices, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has sought an explanation from the oil companies in three days on the sale of branded petroleum products at higher prices.
In a stern warning to the oil companies, the state government warned of penal action for compelling the consumers to purchase branded products at higher prices saying the companies' action amounted to profiteering.
Referring to the shortage of diesel and petrol at few retail outlets in the state capital, the government asked the companies to normalise the supply of motor spirit and high speed diesel without compelling the sale of branded products.
'' The oil companies should clarify the situation to the consumers and the government within three days'', an official release said today.
The state government has drawn the attention of the Bhopal-based managers of the four oil companies that the companies were selling motor spirit and high speed diesel under the brand names of extra premium, extra oil power, turbojet, speed and high speed. The prices on these products charged from the consumers are much higher.
For this, no separate licences have been obtained from district collectors and this amounted to the category of unauthorised sale, the release said, adding it was also brought to the government's notice that the branded petroleum products were neither different from the refinery products nor these were certified by the Indian Bureau of Standardisation.
The state government is of the view that supply of motor spirit and high speed diesel by the oil companies and compelling common consumers to purchase costly branded products and charging Rs four extra on branded products against additional cost of only 50 paise per litre amounted to profiterring.
Besides, it also constituted to hindering the supply of essential commodities, which is a penal offence under the Essential Commodities Act, the release added.
The Motor Spirit and High Speed Diesel Order 2005 provided that nobody shall sell petrol, diesel or any fuel other than the one authorised by the Central Government under any brand or name nor would execute an agreement in this regard which might be used as fuel in motor vehicles having ignition engines or compact ignition engine.
The state government, the release said, had received complaints that petroleum companies were earning profit of over Rs 4 per litre by selling premium products, whereas the cost of liquid blended with ordinary petroleum product came to 50 paise only.
Petroleum Multipurpose Dealers Association also lodged a complaint that the dealers in Sehore district were being compelled to sell extra mile diesel and extra petrol. Similar complaints were also lodged by two retailers from Sehore and Bilkisgang, the release added.