New Delhi: State-run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) on Sunday launched a special winter-grade diesel that remains unfrozen up to minus 33 degree Celsius.
The fuel would help provide year-round access to snow-capped border regions, and is part of India’s efforts to speed up strategic road connectivity. This new fuel will help Indian security forces to stock up on crucial supplies and ammunition that gets cut off due to bad weather in winters.
“Motorists in high-altitude sectors like Ladakh, Kargil, Kaza and Keylong face the problem of freezing of diesel in their vehicles when winter temperatures drop to as low as -30o Celsius. Indian Oil has come up with an innovative solution to this problem by introducing a special winter-grade diesel with a low pour-point of -33o Celsius, which does not lose its fluidity function even in extreme winter conditions," petroleum ministry said in a statement.
The fuel was launched by Home Minister Amit Shah through a video link on Sunday. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Ladakh’s member of Parliament Jamyang Tsering Namgyal were also present on the occasion.
“Speaking on the occasion, Hon’ble Home Minister, Amit Shah, congratulated the people of Ladakh for getting their long-pending demand fulfilled by getting union territory status for Ladakh. The new status will accelerate the pace of holistic development of the region and bring prosperity to the people at par with the rest of India," the statement said.
This comes in the backdrop of bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories—Jammu and Kashmir, which has a legislature, and Ladakh without a legislature.
“Home Minister said that the government of India has initiated a number of development projects for the UT of Ladakh in the areas of power, solar energy, education and tourism with an estimated investment of Rs. 50,000 crore. He further said that keeping in view the special development requirement of the region, the government of India has made a provision that the budget allocation for the UT of Ladakh will remain non-lapsable so as to enable the local administration to make full use of these funds as per their development needs," the statement said.
The launch comes amid a slump in fuel demand and a fall in commercial vehicle traffic on highways, besides weakening consumption demand in a slowing economy.
IOC, the largest oil-marketing company (OMC) in India with around 43% market share in fuel retailing, or 65,202 outlets, said on 31 October that diesel consumption grew by around 1% in the first six months of the current financial year.