Regulations
Ethanol blending made mandatory - but needs enforcing!

The bench mark price of ethanol has been fixed at Rs44 per litre and the government had made it mandatory for OMCs to blend 5% ethanol with petrol, which has now been increased to 10% but actual lifting has been unsatisfactory

 

Oil Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, admitted in the Lok Sabah recently, that the OMCs (Oil Marketing Companies) were able to "achieve" only a 1.37% blending of ethanol with petrol against the target of 5% which, had recently been increased to 10%.

 

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) had assured the government of their willingness to reach 10% blend level across the country, but sought flexible ethanol blending with petrol, ranging from 5 to 25%, depending upon sugar cane availability.

 

The sugar mills are currently realising about Rs32 per kg for sugar.They can produce only 95kgs of sugar for every tonne of cane crushed and 45kgs of molasses yielding about 10.8 litres of ethanol. However, if the entire juice from cane is used for fermenting into alcohol, there would be

no production of sugar but 72 litres of ethanol could be obtained.

 

The bench mark price of ethanol has been fixed at Rs44 per litre and the government has made it mandatory for OMCs to blend 5% ethanol with petrol/diesel, which, as reported above, had now been increased to 10% but actual lifting has been unsatisfactory. Moneylife had reported earlier, that while the sugar mills had a stock of 65 crore litres of ethanol, only 35 crore litres had been lifted by OMCs, resulting in huge blocking of funds. If such a situation should continue, nothing prevents state governments from permitting sugar mills to convert sugar cane juice to alcohol.

 

It has been reported in the press that higher ethanol blending would hit the liquor industry, a fear that may have caused lower blending rate.OMCs must realize their responsibility and ensure that they lift ethanol from mills on a regular basis and also make available blended petrol/diesel at all

government transport depots besides all major bus terminals. In fact, every pumping stations must be asked to ensure availability blended petrol/diesel so that the consumption is increased.

 

The ISMA, in a press report, has stated that the estimate for the current season, 2014-15 is expected to be 25.3 million tonnes of sugar, a mere 4% increase over last year, with both UP and Tamil Nadu showing a shortfall but offset by increase in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. The carryover sugar stock at 7.5 million tonnes is more than the required buffer and should take us through comfortably to the next season, even after providing for exports.

 

Luckily, the monsoon's progress, as advised by IMD (Indian Metrological Department) shows that they expect the rainfall to be well distributed and there will be adequate showers throughout the country, which will reduce the deficit predicted earlier due to an El Nino effect.

 

In the meantime, it is imperative for the government to take serious steps against the OMCs for not complying the required blending programme that have been made mandatory. One way of enforcing such a rule is to tell the OMCs that unless they lift and blend ethanol from mills, they won't be given the subsidies committed by the government.

 

Such a threat alone will work with OMCs, who must also be forced to focus on setting up ethanol blended petrol/diesel units in all the pumping stations throughout the country. As a start, this could be enforced in all the sugarcane producing states where the mills are established. If such actions are not taken, sugar mills may start looking for export market to sell their ethanol.

 

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

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COMMENTS

Madhusudan I. Mistry

3 years ago

A formula can be envisaged to link the payment of the subsidy amount to the OMC based on the certification of ethanol blending percentage. If Less ethanol is blended, proportionately less subsidy will be worked out. It should be ensured that no compensation can be available in the future for such less payment and for OMC it has to be construed as an opportunity lost for lifetime against lower blending for that particular period. Also such notification given to OMC should also provide sufficient time need to indicated for effective implementation, after which the clause for such lesser subsidy payment shall become applicable. Strict adherence through such clause can make the system effective.The onus should similarly be implemented with sugar producing companies as well. Export of ethanol should have a big NO-NO by the government. If Brazil can go upto 25% ethanol blending,we must be blamed for our poor mannagement for such implementation. Ultimately, we are losing expensive foreign exchange with such laxing attitude and action as well. Should it not help us to make CAD more favourable as the volume of blended ethanol is huge and it can help India in a very big way to reduce foreign exchange outgo.

Central Railway's shoddy CCTV camera work at Dadar
CCTV cameras installed for surveillance at Dadar railway station, especially on the Central line, seem positioned to avoid capturing people or suspicious movements. This renders them completely useless and raises questions about whether there is any supervision and whether cameras are deliberately mis-positioned
 
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are meant to enhance public safety and play a major role in identifying suspects or strange behaviour. However, our attempt to track the movements of our recently deceased colleague, Abhishek Rajak turned into a learning experience. After spending several hours poring over the footage at Dadar station, we found that most of the cameras on the Western line only captured the backs of people, while the cameras on the Central line, were turned away from the most crowded platform 4 and the GRP office as well. 
 
Dadar is one of the most crowded stations on Mumbai's rail network and yet, CCTV recording and camera positions, especially on the Central Railway (CR) line needs a close scrutiny by the authorities.
 
Our colleague, Abhishek Rajak was found dead on the rail tracks on 17th July. The reason for our effort to trace his movements was that on the 17th, two people were told that Abhishek had been detained and let off. The police later recanted and claimed there was no detention at all. An hour after the phone calls, Abhishek's body was apparently discovered between Diva and Mumbra stations, about 40-45 minutes distance from Dadar. His phone, which was off for several hours was mysteriously switched on and working. His last call known to us, was from the station to office, when he called to inform of some corrections in articles he had uploaded. 
 
While scrutinising the tapes, we found him on two cameras on the Western Railway side, one walking on the staircase on the middle foot over bridge (FOB) and second walking towards Central Rail line. The second camera on which we spotted him keeps rotating (for reasons only God may know), but luckily that day (on 17th July) there was some issue and it had became stationary. We saw his back and recognised him only by his clothes and backpack. We tracked him in the video footage up to the middle bridge leading to the Central Railway line after which there is nothing. We could not spot Abhishek in any of the cameras installed by CR Railway Protection Force (RPF) in their area of the middle FOB. Moreover, the cameras are positioned in such a way that it covers the staircases only halfway and that too you can see only the backs of commuters.
Platform no. 4 of CR at Dadar is one of the most crowded platforms on the network, from where commuters board fast locals going towards Thane and Kalyan. However, during our inspection, we found that not a single camera was aimed at this platform. The two-three cameras installed on this joint platform (platform3 and 4) were pointed towards platform no3, where commuters travelling on slow locals going South alight. 
 
Another point is most of the CCTV cameras at Dadar station on both Central and Western line do not capture faces of commuters because of the high angle of the cameras. So what you get in the CCTV footage is either side profiles or backs of commuters moving around the station. 
 
(Images for representation only                       Source: www.cr.indianrailways.gov.in)
 
In addition, there is no proper lighting on all platforms. This means, all CCTV videos captured during night is dark and is of little use. And this is applicable to both Central and Western lines.
 
The CCTV cameras and recording are under the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and they provide footage on request, when sent in writing to the Government Railway Police (GRP) for investigations.
 
In addition, the quality of video, especially in area under the CR's jusrisdiction is highly questionable. The videos at most crowded locations are not even clear and are of poor quality. In comparison, there was one camera installed on platform no. 6 (CR) near the CCTV control room, which not only shows clear videos but also the 'greenery' between platform 5 and 6.
 
Even the difference in attitudes of RPF personnel in the CR and the WR was poles apart. The RPF personnel from the WR side were very cooperative, either in identifying the right location and camera or showing the stored footage several times over. On the other hand, the RPF on the CR side were not only rude and adamant but also reluctant to show the footage. The major hindrance with RPF on CR side was that they need an operator to operate the CCTV system, and the operator from the company that installed the system comes only when one gets a permission in writing from RPF headquarters at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Only after speaking with two seniors and with help from one person from the Force, we were able to see the footage of that particular time. But as discussed above, it turned out to be a complete waste of time, due to wrong camera positions and poor lighting.
 
We could not take any pictures at Dadar station as it requires special permission from the authorities. Especially, when there were both GRP and RPF personnels along with us all the time, it was not appropriate to take photos.
 
To recapitulate, Abhishek reached Dadar station at around 7.45pm on 17th July using the entrance near the Suvidha shop. There he climbed the centre FOB (towards CST) to board the 7.47pm Kalyan fast (15 coach) from platform no. 4 on Central Railway. However, he never reached home and later his body was found on the tracks between Mumbra and Diva stations. Abhishek was a stickler and always boarded the fast local while commuting between Dombivali (his home) and Dadar (his office).

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COMMENTS

Veeresh Malik

2 years ago

Despite many attempts by Central Railways to wriggle out of providing a cogent response, we continue to follow-up here, and on one level are following up as per procedure with the Chairman, Railway Board as well as PMO on this case.

After one RTI Application was summarily dismissed, I went into First Appeal as well as escalated the issue, and have now received the full correspondence on the subject. In addition there has been some anonymous input also which shall be sent to the relevant authorities, since I am now trying to get the matter escalated beyond the present Central Railways/RPF.

This is the next series of questions I have asked.

+++

Vide response to PG filed online MORLY/E/2014/14616 and response No.G/190/PG/12/2014/RB-480 signed (S.M. Kelkar), Assistant Secretary (PG), General Managers Office, Central Railway, Mumbai CST 400 001 regarding Sonal Enterprises and CCTV at Dadar Central, please provide me with full information on-

1) Full details and addresses of Sonal Enterprises said to be maintaining CCTV at Dadar Central Railway Station on 17th April 2014, including names and addresses of proprietors or owners or Directors.

2) Full information on basis by which Sonal Enterprises were selected for this work at Dadar Central.

3) Full information on other locations under Central Railway where they have been selected in the past or now for any work from Indian Railways.

4) What are terms and condition of Sonal Enterprises contract with Central Railways or Indian Railways.

5) Under what tender or contract were Sonal Enterprises selected.

6) How many people do Sonal Enterprises employ.

7) What is EPFO registration number of Sonal Enterpris and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

8) What is ESI Registration number of Sonal Enteprise and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

9) What is Maharashtra State Professional Tax registration details of Sonal Enterprise and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

10) What is Service Tax registration and details of Sonal Enterprise and amount paid in as per returns for FY 2013-2014.

11) Where is the control room for the CCTVs set up by Sonal Enterprises for Dadar Railway Station.

Thank you.

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

To: Chairman, Railway Board,
New Delhi

Greetings and Jai Hind.

1) Please find enclosed response received from Office of General Manager, Central Railway, Mumbai.

2) This response is in direct contrast to actual events of 17th and 18th July 2014 as per media reports enclosed herein.

http://www.moneylife.in/article/abhishek...

http://www.moneylife.in/article/central-...

3) A "public grievance", as defined by our Prime Minister, is not a "representation". It is a grievance AGAINST a particular government agency. How that same agency within Government can respond to that very grievance, especially when it pertains to a crime resulting in death, is not understood.

By way of information, I am adding this response as well as my response to another set of Public Grievances currently filed also with other Government agencies. It is obvious that the Office of General Manager of Central Railways has not applied full effort, because nobody has contacted any of the people who actually were informed that Abhishek Rajak had been reportedly detained by Central Railway at Dadar prior to his death.

Sincerely,

Veeresh Malik

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago


[email protected]
17:06 (9 minutes ago)

to me
No.G.190/PG/7/2014/RB-176

Dear Sir,

Your representation has been examined in detail by the concerned
department and it is to state that no person by name mentioned was
detained at PRF/Thane Dadar on 17.07.2014, also the CCTV on the particular
date were working and correctly positioned.

Further, enquires revealed that Dy.SS/Diva informed Government Railway
Police, Thane about an unknown male body lying near Diva station. Later
the diseased was identified and information was given to his parents about
accident. Shri Rajkumar Rajak father of the deceased Late Shri Abhishek
Rajak, has not mentioned any incident about detention of his son at Dadar.

This is for your information please.

Yours Sincerely,


(P.N. Ramachandran)
Assistant Secretary (PG)
General Manager’s Office
Central Railway
Mumbai CST – 400 001
Ph: 022 - 22754030, 22697115


+++

This is one official response I have received. Am pursuing through other avenues also.

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

If anybody gets a phone call from any agency claiming to be investigating this death then please -

1) Convince yourself about the said agency by asking for a landline number and name as well as number of the senior person in that office.

2) Making a call back to that number to establish the genuineness of the person.

3) Responding that all information is as per the article already given and nothing more to add.

I received a call from 9004449817 and am not able to get more information on who and why was calling me.

Thanks / Veeresh

Aditya G

3 years ago

Hi,

I've filed a PG as well.

-
Aditya

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

It will be helpful if others, especially non-Mumbai people who are not affected by possible threats and interferences, will also file paralel pincer PGs online like I have done in this case. Same words can be copy-pasted. Thank you.

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

4th PG filed in this context, idea is to see that "file is opened" and progress, though slow, will be steady and across different departments. Eventually, after about 10 PGs are filed across different departments, a composite Grievance shall be filed at PMO after a gap of a month or so.

GOVMH/E/2014/01142

Name Of Complainant : Veeresh Malik
Date of Receipt : 22 Jul 2014
Received by : Government of Maharashtra
Officer name : Shri. P.S. Meena
Officer Designation : Addl Chief Secretary
Contact Address : General Admn. Deptt.,
R.No. 102, Annex, Mantralaya,
Mumbai400032
Contact Number : 022-22843711
Grievance Description : Please see enclosed article carried in MONEYLIFE http://www.moneylife.in/article/central-... My grievance is that security of local train passengers and commuters appears to be at risk and I request Government of Maharashtra to kindly resolve my grievance and resolve this by investigating fully this tragic episode of death of my young work colleague as well as bring systematic changes and improvement in security at and around local train stations in Mumbai area. I shall be grateful for response in English.
Current Status : RECEIVED THE GRIEVANCE

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

3rd PG filed in this context. It is pertinent to point out that in another case at Jodhpur Railway Station a friend's driver was badly assaulted and mistreated and I had filed 11 separate PGs on the subject. At the end, in a period of 90 days, there was multiple action and resolution.

Here also, the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind.

Registration Number : CAGAO/E/2014/00182
Name Of Complainant : Veeresh Malik
Date of Receipt : 22 Jul 2014
Received by : O/o the Comptroller & Auditor General of India
Officer name : Shri Ranjit Singh
Officer Designation : Assistant C&AG N
Contact Address : 9, Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Marg,
New Delhi
110124
Contact Number : 23232902
Grievance Description : Vast amounts of money are spent by a wide assortment of government public authorities from taxpayer funds in the name of "security". There has always been a suspicion that these funds are not utilised properly. One example is enclosed below, in context with the mysterious demise of my young work colleague, while travelling by local train in Mumbai and detained at Dadar (Central) Railway Station. http://www.moneylife.in/article/central-... My grievance is that there appears to be no proper audit of such expenses and more importantly of operational results expected from such expenses and so as a public grievance in specific case and larger interest I request CAG to resolve my grievance and do a proper full audit of monetary and operational aspects of security cameras provisioned by Central Railway in local train network of Mumbai. Thank you.
Current Status : RECEIVED THE GRIEVANCE


brgds/Veeresh

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

Paralel PG filed with Department of Home vide

Registration Number : MINHA/E/2014/01517
Name Of Complainant : Veeresh Malik
Date of Receipt : 22 Jul 2014
Received by : Department of Home
Officer name : Shri. Kumar Alok
Officer Designation : Joint Secretary Coord. &am
Contact Address : Room No. 188,
North Block,
New Delhi110001
Contact Number : 23092392
e-mail : [email protected]
Grievance Description : Please see appended article published in MONEYLIFE in context with death undermysterious circumstances between Dadar (Central) and Diva/Dombivili of my work colleague Abhishek Rajak. http://www.moneylife.in/article/central-... It is amply apparently clear that CCTV and security at Dadar (Central) is apparently not performing as it should and so my grievance to Department of Home is twofold - 1) A full and proper investigation on the death of my late colleague young Shri Abhsishek Rajak. 2) A grievance that the security system at Dadar Central and other railway stations in Mumbai area should be improved for the larger benefit of all citizens. Thank you.
Current Status : RECEIVED THE GRIEVANCE

Veeresh Malik

3 years ago

PG filed online with Indian Railways (Railway Board) MORLY/E/2014/07500

"Name Of Complainant : Veeresh Malik
Date of Receipt : 21 Jul 2014
Received by : Ministry of Railways, ( Railway Board)
Officer name : Shri Ashok Choudhary
Officer Designation : Executive Director(PG)
Contact Address : Room No. 467, Rail Bhavan,
Railway board
New Delhi110001
Contact Number : 23386203
e-mail : [email protected]
Grievance Description : Please see enclosed article which is in context with death of my colleague on Central Railway local train Mumbai. http://www.moneylife.in/article/central-... It is my grievance that despite all expenses incurred on security measures the recording devices installed at Dadar do not provide any cogent information. I shall be subsequently also pursuing this matter with PMO and CAG and Department of Home, but interim my grievance is that Ministry of Railways needs to rectify this sad situation with recording devices at Dadar Central.
Current Status : RECEIVED THE GRIEVANCE"

Request others also file PGs on this issue, many thanks.

Abhijit Gosavi

3 years ago

Very, very sorry for the loss of this young life. I was born in Dombivli; never really lived there, but have traveled on that local many times as an adult. Would not at all be surprised if the police were mis-aligning the cameras intentionally to prevent the cameras from recording their misdeeds.

I remember an incident from the 90s when college mates of mine were detained on VT (has a new name now, I think) in the evening for no real reason. They were spending the whole night at VT's waiting room to catch a train early next morning and had just innocently wandered out of the waiting room. The police let them go after extorting a few rupees, claiming they had no right to be walking around on the station.

In general, railway stations are terribly managed, and corruption is at the root of all the mismanagement. God alone knows when ordinary Indian citizens will be able to enjoy public transportation for which they pay through fares as well as taxes.

Divya Malcolm

3 years ago

Why is it that even when I reply from my e mail, Divya's name crops up?

Bapoo M Malcolm

Divya Malcolm

3 years ago

Moneylife and Samir have been upfront in exposing the many misdeeds of the Railway Protection (sic) Force, especially on the Central Railway.

Was a staff member especially targeted?

Bapoo M. Malcolm

Divya Malcolm

3 years ago

The comment was posted by me, Bapoo and not Divya. I was on her mail as I check it for her. Sorry.

Divya Malcolm

3 years ago

The best thing to do now is to start with finding out how many innocents have been arrested by the RPF on Dadar platforms. Then to check if the cops were into a daily extortion racket. Appoint a detective agency. It may cost a few bucks but it will be fast and good. We can and will contribute our mite. We must.

Let us make sure that Abhishek did not die in vain.

Taxing Times
Talk of taxes makes us run the other way. As we get ready to file our individual tax returns, we often worry whether we have added all the income and taken into account all the deductions so that we do not underpay on the one hand or fall foul of the IT department, on the other. Is there a possibility of overpaying? How should you cross check your tax computation? E-filing (compulsory for several categories of taxpayers) works fine, if you understand the process. It is undoubtedly better than standing in a queue at the I-T office, to submit your returns. Moreover, e-filing at I-T department’s website is free. Instructions are available for each ITR, but it cannot ensure smooth filing. We have put together a comprehensive guide that will help you through your tax filing process. Our Cover Story on taxation will help understand how your financial data translates into tax liability or refund calculation. 
 
In her Different Strokes section, Sucheta analyses the maiden Budget of the Modi-led government and questions whether the new government is moving along the direction it had promised before the elections. The government surely has got a lot of cleaning up to do. In her Crosshairs section, Sucheta writes about the weak regulator, the Forward Markets Commission, and suggests that a government, which has promised good governance, may want to set new rules. 
 
Ponzi schemes lure people with the promise of high returns and manage to garner a few thousand crore rupees each. Sucheta mentions that the government should keep this in mind before it allows itself to be influenced by those who are lobbying for legal protection for MLMs and chain schemes. 
 
It is with deep grief that I share with you the news that our colleague, Abhishek Rajak, died in a tragic railway accident on 17 July 2014. We have lost a wonderful, hard working colleague, who was always smiling, always ready for challenges and on the threshold of life. Words cannot describe our loss. We will miss him everyday.

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