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The Indian petroleum minister Murli Deora recently convened a meeting with fuel retailers and sugar millers for seeking their support in its ethanol-blending policy. The move comes in the wake of government asked the petroleum ministry to ensure that oil companies compulsorily sold petrol mixed with 5 per cent ethanol and which was not being followed citing ethanol shortage.

In November 2006, the central government had mandated that ethanol should be blended in a 5 per cent proportion with petrol to be sold throughout India. However, oil marketing companies (OMCs) — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum — could not even implement the 5 per cent blend due to shortage of ethanol and Deora approached the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for keeping the 10 per cent compulsory blending plan in abeyance.

“The Cabinet has taken a firm decision and made compulsory for oil companies to blend 5 per cent ethanol in petrol. It has also decided to impose heavy penalties, if oil companies fail to sell petrol without 5 per cent of ethanol,” Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah said. The Petroleum Ministry has been instructed to ensure all oil marketing companies (OMCs) implement the decision.

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