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Is it avoidable or unavoidable?

To term the proposed hike “unavoidable” the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy said the crisis sparked by the rise in crude oil prices and the fall in the value of the rupee against the dollar, made imports expensive. This was proved beyond any iota of truth that the government will perpetrate a great “fraud” on the face of the country’s people by allowing oil companies to go ahead with heavy hike in fuel prices.

All the oil companies, as per their recent declarations, had posted profits. Together they have a cash reserve of Rs 1 lakh crore. They are hardly in the red as they claim. Besides, the OMC’s kitty, when there is a hike in international prices the government’s revenues increases proportionately as selling price above Rs 50 per litre for petrol, Rs 29 per litre goes to the government kitty as customs duty along with other central taxes.

On one side, with increased taxes/ duties, its revenues increases, on the other side, the government hikes the prices in the name of international price rise. Thus, rather than the return of increased revenues in the form of price reduction for the people the government reaps a bonanza amid imposes this burden on the people through higher prices. Apart from it, the state governments are shedding crocodile tears on the increase of oil prices by the Union Government. But they are not ready to reduce their taxes such as VAT, cess, surcharge and octori, which in certain cases come to more than 30 per cent.

Keeping in view the acute scarcity of petroleum products in the country, the major oil companies have been observing Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight since 1991 with lot of enthusiasm and commitment to spread the message of conservation through various activities. But almost in all government departments, there is a flagrant violation of the set rules and petrol and petroleum products are freely being misused.

It must be recollected that even in the colonial era there was a Defence of India Act meant to impose restrictions on the number of guest at ceremonies. The provisions were meant to save energy and other resources. Why not today, when we have to import more than 75 per cent crude. Feasibility to constitute an Energy Conservation Commission needs to be explored. The oil companies should involve the government departments and educate them in saving this liquor gold. Under such a piquant situation, hike in petrol and petroleum products is an avoidable exercise.

SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh


This is in reference to Randhir Singh Bains’s comments on the film ‘Son of Sardar’ (September 7). I would like to say that SGPC is a mini parliament of Sikhs. It has elected members from Punjab and nominated members of other states. Its foremost duty is to watch the interest of Sikh community and safeguard its prestige. If anything wrong happens anywhere at global level which hurts the sentiment of Sikh community, it must raise voice of course in a most civilised and sensible way as it has done in the case of actor Ajay Devgan’s film ‘Son of Sardar’.

It is the actor’s goodness that he has decided to pay obeisance to Darbar Sahib and accepted to remove some objectionable part of film with open heart. We the Sikh community know how to respect democratic setup and to what extent we have to enjoy our rights of freedom to expression. Sikhs are always loyal to their motherland and have sacrificed their lives for national dignity whenever required.


Smile to shine

The article The Smile of a Champion (September 7) by Vivek Atray made an interesting reading. The middle beautifully threw light on various types of smiles and the reasons that make different people smile. The writer placed the smile of a champion at the top of the list but the smile of a woman, that even angels envy, is the one that embellishes an inferior face and redeems an ugly one, is second to none.

In addition to the smiles enumerated in the middle, there are many other smiles. Each one of them has a distinct character. Some of them announce goodness, decency, morality, honesty and sweetness while others simply betray sarcasm, bitterness, pride, acridity, irony, banter and derision. Even some soften the face by their languishing tenderness, love and consideration whereas still there are others that brighten by their spiritual vivacity, animation and liveliness.It is said that it needs only 13 muscles to smile but 78 muscles to frown. That’s why Lavater has said, “A disagreeable smile distorts the lines of beauty, and is more repulsive than a frown.”

Some people never smile but grin only and a face that can never smile is said to be never good. Since smiles cost nothing, it is better to smile than not to.

The word ‘smile’ has a great sight in it that changes colours like that of a chameleon. Irrespective of all the smiles, it is the smile of love, piety, compassion and charity that carries the day. See what RU Johnson says, “The odour is the rose, the smile, the woman.”


Cleaning up manually!

This has reference to the editorial "Can't just flush it away"(September 13). It is a matter of shame that when India tries to display its "modernity", "progress" and "pride" by blowing the trumpet of IT revolution, Commonwealth Games, etc, the country still sponsors manual scavengers who are practically deprived of all kinds of security, dignity, human rights and minimum amenities of life!

When the country has dry latrines in the 21st century and which get cleaned up manually, it cannot flaunt its feat of discovering water on the moon and being engaged in a project of reaching the Mars! When will we stop reacting zealously to an alleged dishonour of the Tricolour (mere symbol of the nation) and instead concentrate our energy on establishing our own fellow citizens (the real nation) on an honourable pedestal?




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