Clash of ego among Ministers prolong oil crisis
Govt proposes, Irabot disposes
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, May 24 2010: The authority has failed to distribute the petroleum products, which were brought to Imphal under security escort during the last two days, to the people today due to an apparent clash of ego between Minister of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, Y Irabot on one side and the State Chief Minister O Ibobi and some Cabinet Ministers on the other.

The contest of power between the two sides has resulted in prolonging the scarcity of petrol and diesel in the state.

A high level special meeting was held with the Chief Minister, O Ibobi in the chair at 10 am today at the Chief Minister's Secretariat.

Some Cabinet Ministers and top officials of the government attended the meeting which discussed how the petroleum products could be distributed to the consumers.

Among those officials were Chief Secretary DS Poonia, DGP, Manipur, Y Joykumar, Commissioner, Agriculture, Commissioner, CA and F & PD, etc.

After long deliberation, the meeting decided to issue 36 kilo litres of diesel per day which will be distributed with the approval of the various transport societies, a Cabinet Minister who attended the meeting told this newspaper.

He said, according to the decision of the Government, the trucks, gas bullet tankers and oil tankers will be allowed to get diesel and petrol from oil pumps through the Manipur Transporters/Drivers' Association.

The passenger buses and other passenger vehicles with diesel engines plying between hills and valley would be given fuel through their respective associations.

The farmers who need diesel oil and the school vans would also be given required fuel, the Minister said.

As per the decisions of the meeting, the government directed Commissioner, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, P Vaiphei to issue necessary orders.

Reliable sources said that when the officials concerned started working on translating the government's decisions taken at the meeting, it was already 4 pm.

As it is an official rule, the main responsibility for distribution of petroleum products lies with the Department of Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution.

Therefore, the Commissioner of the Department has to submit the file to the Minister concerned, who is none other than Y Irabot, for signing it.

The sources further said that when the Commissioner submitted the file to Minister Irabot, he sent it back to the Commissioner saying that it is not right to take decisions as regards his department without his consent.

Minister Irabot is said to have asked the Commissioner to submit the file along with the earlier one which was related to the method of making petroleum products available to the consumers as had been worked out by his department.

Thus, the two files including the one which was approved at the meeting in the presence of the Chief Minister were submitted to Minister Irabot.

The sources said that as the two files were submitted to the office of the Minister at 4 pm, officials could not confirm whether Minister Irabot has received the files or not.

Minister Irabot was not present at today's meeting chaired by the Chief Minister.

Sources said that, the notice of the meeting was given to the Minister in time.

Besides, he was asked on phone to attend the meeting to discuss the modality of distribution of the fuels.

However, a source close to Minister Irabot said that no information about the meeting was given to the Minister.

A high level officer in the Department of CA and F&PD revealed to this newspaper that no order has been issued till late tonight regarding distribution of fuels.

Therefore, he appealed to the people not to form long queues at the oil pumps.

The order for distributing petrol and diesel at the oil pumps would be issued only after seeing the files released by Minister Irabot tomorrow.

Even then it is not possible that issuing order and distribution of diesel and petrol would be done in the same day, the source said.