While, petrol prices were freed from government control in June, state oil firms continue to sell diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at government ruled prices, which is substantially lower than the cost of production
New Delhi: The government today approved Rs8,000 crore in cash subsidy to state-owned fuel retailers to make up for half of the revenues they lost on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost in the third quarter, reports PTI.
"Finance ministry has issued a letter approving Rs8,000 crore in cash compensation for the October-December quarter," an oil ministry official said.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the nation's largest fuel retailer, will get Rs4,442.45 crore, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) Rs1,809.85 crore and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) Rs1,747.70 crore.
The three companies had last week postponed announcing their third quarter financial results in anticipation of the government subsidy announcement, without which they would have posted losses.
The official said IOC, BPCL and HPCL lost a shade less than Rs16,000 crore revenue on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below their imported cost.
Of this, upstream firms Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Oil India (OIL) and GAIL India made up Rs5,198 crore by way of discounts on crude oil and petroleum products they sell to the three retailers. ONGC chipped in Rs4,222 crore, OIL Rs558 crore and GAIL Rs418 crore.
The subsidy approved today is less than the Rs10,000 crore compensation that the oil ministry was seeking.
"For the first six months, the finance ministry had previously approved Rs13,000 crore and now with today's Rs 8,000 crore, the total subsidy from the government so far this fiscal is Rs21,000 crore," the official said.
IOC, which was expected to announce third quarter results on 25th January, has now scheduled its board meeting on 10th February.
Similarly, BPCL has postponed the 31st January board meeting for the third quarter results to 9th February while HPCL put off its 27th January meet to 11th February.
While, petrol prices were freed from government control in June, state oil firms continue to sell diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at government ruled prices, which is substantially lower than the cost of production.
IOC, BPCL and HPCL currently lose Rs6.80 per litre on diesel, Rs18.66 per litre on kerosene and Rs366 per 14.2-kg LPG cylinder.
A recommendation has been made to DoT that radiation levels for cell towers should be brought down from the current 9.2 watts per metre square to less than 1 watt per metre square. Prof Girish Kumar believes it should be even lower
Professor Girish Kumar, of IIT Bombay, has been researching the harmful effects of electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) for some time now. He has also developed an instrument (a radiation shield) which absorbs radiation from cell phone towers, Wi-Fi, etc. Taking the industry's criticism of his research head-on, he says, "I have been consistently campaigning for lowering of phone radiation levels. Would I do that if I wanted to promote my business interests? I would rather not sell a single shield; but the citizens, especially our children, should be protected from radiation hazards." In an interview to Moneylife, Prof Kumar highlighted some health hazards from radiation emanating from cell towers and mobile phones. Excerpts from the interview.
Moneylife (ML): There has been a debate on whether or not there is a direct link between cancer and radiation from cell towers. What does your research indicate?
Girish Kumar (GK): International studies have shown a direct link between cancer caused due to radiation emitting from cell towers and mobile phones; there are other health hazards as well. Many reports, including the Interphone study which spanned over 10 years, speak of 'possible health hazards', like tumour due to radiation, but say that there is 'no conclusive evidence' that there is a direct link. Many of these studies often state that "further study is required".
ML: Why are further studies required?
GK: Much of the research depends on external funding-whether it is industry, pharma companies or the government. If they provide 'conclusive evidence', who will fund them next time?
ML: Is investment a major impediment for the government/ mobile operators to bring down radiation levels, given that mobile users are increasing day-by-day and more such towers are likely to be installed?
GK: Investment is the biggest hurdle for them. To reduce radiation hazards, the wattage per tower needs to be drastically reduced. Which means more towers will need to be erected to ensure quality of service, which means more investment. It is not that industry does not know the solutions. But it is in denial mode because it does not want to spend on the required infrastructure.
ML: What could be the immediate corrective steps to address this sensitive subject?
GK: Bringing down radiation levels is the most important factor that can help address this issue. It should be as immediate as right now. An inter-ministerial committee has recommended to DoT that the norms for radiation level should be brought down by 1/10th-from the current 9.2 watts per metre square to less than 1 watt per metre square. In my view, the ideal level of radiation should be 0.0001 watt per metre square, which the industry finds too stringent immediately. But taking some steps is better than doing nothing.
ML: You have developed an instrument which absorbs radiation from cell towers, 3G, Wi-Fi, etc. Without using the instrument, is there anything citizens can do at their level, like placing plants on the window (directly facing the cell tower-in the path of the radiation), as suggested by a few experts? Is it of any help?
GK: Placing plants definitely would help in absorbing radiation, though it would be on a very small scale. Recently, some farmers in Gurgaon mentioned to me that production of lime from the lemon trees near Gurgaon highway constantly exposed to the radiation had fallen drastically-from 200 limes to two per tree even though the trees had survived. This means that trees have the capacity of absorbing radiation. Placing plants on the window will help in absorbing radiation, though it means that they could die.
A graduate in mechanical engineering from Assam Engineering College, AK Hazarika joined ONGC as graduate trainee in 1976
The government of India has entrusted the additional charge of chairman & managing director, ONGC and director (Exploration), ONGC to AK Hazarika, director (Onshore), ONGC from 1 February 2011.
Mr Hazarika is a first class graduate in mechanical engineering from Assam Engineering College, Guwahati. He joined ONGC as graduate trainee in 1976. His first assignment was as driller (Cementing) in Assam. He remained in Assam upto 1989 at various important positions with increasing complex responsibilities.
Mr Hazarika rose to the position of executive director and chief-well services in January 2003. Mr Hazarika was selected by government of India to the position of Director (Onshore) in September 2004 at Delhi where he is presently looking after all the onshore operations of ONGC spread over the entire country.
The additional responsibilities of Mr Hazarika include director on board-in ONGC Videsh Ltd, ONGC Tripura Power Company and chairman of ONGC TERI Bio-tech. Ltd, director in-charge-material management, health, safety & environment and carbon management group.