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Help Centre tackle the oil crisis

I am apprehensive about the occurrence of a 1929-style American financial depression in India. Things are moving in that direction. Whenever a big calamity befalls a nation, the nation should unite rather than fragment due to misguided opportunism of the rival political parties.

In India, the prices of petroleum products were marginally increased on the day the world crude prices were hovering in the $128 per barrel range. Now the prices are persisting in the $140 per barrel range. Pressing the panic button, the UPA Chairperson issued an advice to the state governments to reduce the bite by slashing the sales tax. This could have been a good advice had the prices stuck in the $128 range. But the crude prices are still rising alarmingly with no cap in sight. The retail prices have to go up and they should be allowed to go up. Higher retail prices will curb the consumption of this fuel. By keeping the prices low with government subsidies, we will send a wrong signal to the OPEC nations, whose wanton greed has created this worldwide crisis.


The Saudis are offering financial aid to Pakistan and some other Islamic nations to tide over the ill effects of inflation in crude prices. We in India have no such Godfather. We have to tighten our belts. After 9/11, the whole nation of America stood solidly behind its President, that was the need of the hour too.

My advice to the Communists and the NDA is to read the writing on the wall and rally behind the Manmohan Singh government, at least at this juncture. They should not mislead the naive population into destruction of our economic structure.

HARJAP SINGH AUJLA, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey (USA)


I read the editorials “A bold decision” (June 5) and “Protesting too much” (June7) which highlight the media’s positive role in defending the UPA government’s role in raising the prices of the petroleum products.

True, oil shock has rattled the economies worldwide. India could not be exempted from this shock. Today oil and food crisis is a global phenomenon and so the Opposition plus the Left parties’ protests are ill-conceived and unwarranted. Surprisingly, before going to streets, calling bandhs and causing immense hardship to the common people, these parties should understand the ground reality.

SUNDER SINGH GIANI, Dialpura (Mohali)


In view of the more than 250 per cent increase in the price of crude oil during the last decade or so, the UPA government was left with no alternative but to effect an increase in the prices of petroleum products.

This time also, the Left’s attitude has been stereotypical vis-à-vis cases pertaining to fiscal matters like price hike, disinvestment, etc. They have huffed and puffed and even called for a nation-wide bandh which, unfortunately evoked response only in the Left-ruled states. Since long, this has become their routine way of impressing their partymen, nay hoodwinking them, of having pursued their economic policies. Despite all this, the Left continues to be in the UPA which they can ill-afford to leave.

I wish the Congress had shown the same grit and determination in going ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal. The Left would have been where it is, but the deal would have matured and benefits started accruing.

D.K. AGGARWALA, Phagwara


I fail to understand the hullabaloo over increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG. This hike was imminent due to the high rates of crude oil. These prices can still go up and we should be prepared for that.

The Chief Ministers of non-Congress ruled states are against the UPA government at the Centre. However, had the NDA been in power at the Centre today, it would have hiked the oil prices.

The West Bengal government slashed sale tax on petrol and diesel by 5 per cent which means a relief of Rs 2.12 and 1.38 a litre on the two fuels respectively. It reduced sale tax on petrol from 25 per cent to 20 per cent and that of diesel from 17 per cent to 12.5 per cent. It has limited financial power but still has done a remarkable job.

If West Bengal can do it, why not other states? Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who claims himself to be the Messiah of aam admi should rise to occasion and slash sales tax on two fuels.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala


The substantial increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas will increase the freight and fares of all diesel and petrol-driven vehicles automatically. The cost of items made on cooking gas and building materials will also shoot up. The poorest families, farmers and poorly paid employees will be severely hit because it will upset their income.

Instead of projecting a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP), our leaders should divert their attention to reduce inflation, not to increase the workload of the courts to impose new laws on public, make the country corruption-free, provide roti, kapda and makan to all and provide jobs to all educated youths on merit without dividing us on the basis of quotas.



Learn from Hillary Clinton

Obama may have won the race in the US presidential primaries, but Hillary Clinton showed grace by conceding defeat and congratulating Obama. Moreover, she has asked her 18 million supporters, who voted for her, to vote for Obama in the November elections.

Contrast this with our politicians who don’t see eye to eye. Consider the case of Congress leaders in Punjab. Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh are at daggers drawn with each other. The losers here sulk and throw mud on the winner. Some go to the extent of forming a breakaway party, ironically retaining the same name as that of the original party. No wonder, we have over 600 parties registered with the Election Commission whereas mature democracies have hardly 3 or 4 parties.

The conduct and demeanor of Hillary Clinton should act as an example for our politicians if they have to win the respect of our masses. Her actions, approach and attitude are in true tradition of a good leader.

Brig HARWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali



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