A huge quantity of diesel is being smuggled out of the country during the ongoing Boro irrigation season as the price of per litre fuel is at least Tk 25 lower in Bangladesh than in India, official sources said.
They said diesel tariff in West Bengal increased following a gradual hike in crude oil tariff on international market at the end of last year.
The ministry of power, energy and mineral resources has already requested the home ministry to take necessary steps for tackling diesel smuggling in remote bordering areas, an official said.
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has expressed concern over fuel smuggling to India.
“We have lack of manpower and over dependency on Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), police and deputy commissioner offices for conducting any drive,” a BPC official said on condition of anonymity.
“Earlier, we issued letter to DC office, Dhaka and district magistrate for allowing us a magistrate to conduct mobile court in greater Dhaka,” the official said.
In early 2018, the BPC requested the home ministry to tackle smuggling of high-speed diesel into India ahead of Boro season.
Bangladesh fears that smugglers can take advantage to smuggle the petroleum fuel into India during Boro season till May 2018, a bulk food-grain production period in the country.
The government set a target to produce about 1.91crore tonne of Boro paddy this year.
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has estimated about 15.56 lakh tonnes of diesel to run some 16.48 lakh deep tube-wells, shallow tube-wells, low lift pumps, power tillers and tractors during five months of Boro irrigation.
Cultivators will require some 1.52 lakh tonnes of diesel in food basket areas of 16 northern districts.
During a recent meeting, the energy and mineral resources division said nearly 90 percent deep tube-wells, shallow tube-wells, low lift pumps, power tillers and tractors are diesel-fired.
The requirement of the petroleum fuel is 61.50 lakh metric tonnes in 2017-18 fiscal year. Of the requirement, the demand for diesel is 42 lakh tonnes.
Agriculture sector consumes around 26 percent of diesel during five months of the Boro irrigation period.
The BPC has already created buffer stock of diesel during the current Boro season at the Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL) in Chittagong.
Besides, the BPC has already requested Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) to ensure free from anchorage by cargo ships adjoining DOJ-5, DOJ-6, DOJ-7 jetties so that loaded oil tankers can easily move to Godnile, Fatulla, Dalutpur and other depots during the irrigation period.
The government has already been concerned over an increase in food-grain prices due to heavy flash floods that damaged 40 lakh tonnes of food grains.
So, the government has extended its monitoring system this year to get more production, the official mentioned..