L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Petrol price hike will hit the poor

The petrol price hike will hit the common man and the poorer sections hard as it will have a cascading effect on the economy. Admittedly, 90 per cent of our crude requirement is imported. The prices and inflation depend on this factor. Yet the cars and other personal vehicles are increasing by leaps and bounds resulting in humongous fuel consumption, atmospheric pollution and health problems.

The newer models are growing in their sizes too. Most personal vehicles on the roads do not carry passengers to their full capacity. Add to this are the fleet of cars and the retinue of the VIPs and VVIPs that is also growing at an alarming rate. The vehicles run on either diesel or petrol and constitute 80 per cent of the total road traffic while the buses for mass transportation constitute only 20 per cent.

While freeing the fuel prices will bring down the deficit, the government needs to reconsider and formulate a conducive policy for mass public transportation to reduce congestion, pollution and global warming instead of encouraging mass automobile manufacture and personalised transportation.

As an immediate measure to discourage private cars on the roads, the government should subsidise fuel prices like diesel for mass transportation in the country. The VIPs should be made to pay for their transportation and pleasure jaunts from their pockets. Besides increase of parking charges for reducing congestion, taxes on cars and charges for parking on the roads should be increased. Taxing of vehicles’ entry into central business district and other congested zones during peak hours should be introduced in India as in Singapore and the UK. This could partly take care of the problem.

S. NARAYAN, Chembur, Mumbai


As expected, the Punjab Chief Minister and his Deputy Chief Minister raised a hue and cry at the Centre’s decision to decontrol the petrol prices which was a step in the right direction and long overdue to rein in the government’s blooming fiscal deficit.

The revised petrol price in Punjab is Rs 57.19 a litre — the highest — and Rs 51.66 in Haryana — the lowest. This is not due to the Centre’s step-motherly treatment as is always claimed but due to the higher sales tax levied by the Punjab government.

Now would the farmer-friendly Punjab government reduce the taxes to bring the prices of petrol at par with that of Haryana? This will help avoid cross-border smuggling of petrol which would otherwise eat into the government’s revenue earning.

Lt (IN) SUKHDEV SINGH GILL (retd), Jagraon


The rise in petroleum products is outrageous and atrocious. It is more due to the government’s inefficiency and incompetence than necessity. Prices are increased at any time of the fiscal year and the annual budget has lost its importance.

The people are forced to pay hefty prices for the government’s follies and failures. Raising the price of petrol is the government’s easiest method to cover up the losses or deficit due to faulty planning and working. The government fails to realise that in the fiscal field there are always different phases of working — receipts and expenditure. Both are important and emphasis should be laid on both.

However, the Centre emphasises only on receipts and either ignores or does not bother about expenditure. Now so many government undertakings are incurring huge losses. We have scams, scandals and economic offences which are completely overlooked and little is done to check them.

S.P.SHARMA, Mumbai 


The decision will fuel core inflation, already in double digits. The Centre says that the petrol price hike will help the oil PSUs cut their losses and avert an impending financial crisis they face. Whatever the argument, the decision will not affect the affluent but its ripple effects will badly hurt the poor people who are already hit by galloping inflation of food items.

For obvious reasons, the Opposition will oppose the hike tooth and nail. The remedy lies in curbing ubiquitous corruption which has gone into astronomical figures and the huge wasteful government expenditure and in taking other steps towards ensuring robust fiscal discipline.

R.J. KHURANA, Bhopal

Death holes

When will the authorities concerned take measures to stop borewells becoming “death holes”? (Editorial, June 24). Dilnaz and many others could have been saved if stringent action was taken against those who were negligent and, thus, responsible for the death of innocents.

“All these well meaning measures remained confined to official files”, and, “…what matters is implementation of guidelines,” the editorial rightly observed. This should be sufficient to awaken the officials out of their slumber.

B.S. BHATIA, Chandigarh

Why free power to farmers?

It is shocking to note that Punjab’s farmers burn their power bills which are reimbursed by the government twice a year (Editorial, “Look beyond burning bills”, June 25). It is totally unjustified and uncalled for. Free power is indeed the “quintessential oxymoron”. Schemes of this type are populist as these are announced just a few weeks before the elections. . In Punjab, 25 per cent of electricity load is attributable to agriculture. This scheme has bled Punjab as the money provided for this directly comes from the citizens, including the poor.

Free power encourages wasteful practices as many farmers don’t switch off motors used for pumps. It also leads to depletion of groundwater. Providing free power to farmers is not the best way to support agriculture. Moreover, the interests of the poor and marginal farmers are hardly served by the unreliable power supply as most areas in Punjab are facing power cuts throughout the year. Poor and marginal farmers can be given free power supply but giving free power to the rich is totally unjustified.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |