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Time to check oil mafia

The editorial, “Burnt alive!” (Jan 28) is a grim reminder that in a democracy you dare not expose other people’s misdeeds. The headline, “Crackdown on oil mafia” (news report, Jan 28) reminded one of an old Hindi movie, when the hero, who is a policeman, having lost someone near to him, goes all out to destroy the kingdom of the evil. But life is not a movie. The Maharashtra government, or for that matter the Indian government, seems to be more concerned with the votes and donations the politicians get from the mafia than the well-being of the common man.

Kerosene has been subsidised in the name of the poor. But it has become a substance of adulteration, which is affecting the economic health of the government, the life of vehicles and above all polluting the environment when used for adulterating diesel or petrol. We can see three wheelers in small town India, bellowing out clouds of smoke, as they mix kerosene with petrol. Diesel has been subsidised, when everyone knows that most of the diesel is being used by rich agriculturists, large transporters or millionaires owning large SUVs. The government in India seems to take corruption in its stride. Innocent people sacrifice their lives at the altar of honesty. The government pays some ex-gratia amount and gets going with its business. The scourge of corruption is so deep-rooted in India that whoever tries to take it head on, is eliminated from the scene.

The onus of restricting malpractices in the oil trade lies with the district authorities like police/administration and the food and civil supplies department. But they don’t act because of the fear of their political bosses and to satiate their own greed. Well-meaning officials of the oil companies are too powerless in front of the oil mafia to restrict the malpractices. It is time the government wakes up from the slumber and eliminates corruption. 


Telangana issue

T V Rajeshwar’s article “Will Telangana emerge?”’ (Jan 26) has presented a balanced view on the Telangana issue, tracing the genesis of the problem briefly from the pre-Independence days. However, the writer’s hidden tilt in favour of the creation of a separate Telangana state is conspicuous.

Like a seasoned public servant, the writer does not dismiss any of the options, either suggested by the Justice Krishna Commission or those being contemplated by the Union Home Ministry. Telangana or no Telangana, the creation of new states by dividing the existing ones is viewed by the public as the product of high ambitions of self-serving politicians.

The Telangana tangle may prove to be an exception, but most states created after protracted agitations corroborate this fact. The seeds of dissatisfaction and unrest in a particular state start germinating in the fertile soil of misgovernance of the elected rulers of that state. Then such genuine grievances and sentiments are further exploited by opportunistic politicians.

It is true to some extent that small states are better to govern. But then, there is no limit to which a state can be divided. Recently created smaller states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have not shown the kind of good governance expected at the time of their creation. Naxalite menace and corruption still rule the roost in these states. It is good governance rather than the indiscriminate division which is essential for the success of a state.

L R SHARMA, Sundernagar

PM’s responsibility

The involvement of the UPA ministers in corruption cases, 2G scam, Commonwealth Games scandal, Chief Vigilance Commissioner Thomas’s appointment despite his involvement in the corruption cases and Radia’s tapes revelations are not a matter of poor governance (editorial, “Crisis of governance”, Jan 29). Nor is it about the personal integrity and honesty of Dr Manmohan Singh. It is a matter of the collective responsibility of the government headed by Dr Singh.

He is equally responsible for his ministers. How honest he personally is, is not a matter of concern but how much the ministers under him are corrupt is a matter of great concern.

In a coalition government, formed with different parties and different ideologies, the coalition leaders demand particular ministries and portfolios as a matter of right for lending their support. The result is rampant corruption and skyrocketing prices of food items. For the sake of the country and its people, we need to work out a better and viable alternative form of government.


Indian migrants

Shyam Bhatia’s news report “Destitute Punjabis dot London streets”( Jan 28) is misleading on two counts. Firstly, the writer does not make it clear that these “rough sleepers” are not ordinary British citizens, but illegal Indian immigrants; and secondly he fails to point out that it is because of their immigration status — or lack of it — that they are not entitled to any state benefits.

Many Punjabi illegal immigrants travel on a valid visa to a non-European Union country. From there, they make their way to the French port of Calais, and then stowaway to Britain on the back of an incoming lorry. On arriving here, their first point of contact is the nearest Sikh temple, which they use as a meeting point to get to know other members of the Sikh community. They eventually get picked up by Sikh employers, who employ them as labourers for a wage much less than the minimum wage required by the law. Now, because of the recession, jobs are scarce and consequently most illegal settlers are unemployed and destitute.

Illegal Punjabi immigrants are a disgrace, not only to the global image of London as a caring city, but also to the rising economic and political profile of India. The Indian government should make every effort to ensure that only those who can be gainfully employed abroad are allowed to leave the country.




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