Midnight Massacre of the Poor !

R.D. Bharadwaj “Noorpuri”,

A few days ago, the oil companies have resorted to hiking the prices of petrol, 4th time this year resulting in total increase of around Rs. 21/- per litre. It has come as an earth quake at midnight and is thus being described as a midnight slaughter of the poor, as by doing so; the Govt. has cracked a cruel joke on the poor people who were already suffering from high inflation making their lives miserable. On one hand the central Govt. is saying that they are trying their level best to bring down the prices of essential commodities, but on the contrary, it is doing just the opposite by pinching them by increasing the prices of petro products. We also hear the news that Govt. is also contemplating on hiking the prices of diesel, kerosene oil, LPG and CNG as well. The hike in fuel charges like petrol, diesel, CNG, LPG and coal etc. is the mother of all inflation.

It is also observed that whenever the value of US $ goes high in comparison to Indian rupee, the Oil Companies very quickly and cleverly hike prices of petro products saying that its imports have become costly due to the rupee depreciation, but when the reverse happens i.e. Indian Rupee appreciates, the Oil Companies do not show the same kind of honesty and hurry and lower the prices of these items.

It is also pertinent to mention here that many a time we see reports on various news channels that at a few places some anti-national and unscrupulous people are resorting to oil and diesel pilferages by cutting the pipes of petrol and diesel and thereby stealing millions gallons of these costly items. Only some big people can resort to such heinous crimes and that too, certainly not without the knowledge of some big wigs in oil companies of some ministries. It is really intriguing to note that while the print and electronic media can see them stealing the national resources by oil pilgrimages causing crores of damages to the oil companies and show the reports on national news channels, how can the Govt. be not aware of such a high cases of robbery being committed on national scales? They are not catching those big criminals and recovering crores of damages from such anti-national elements, but making the lives of the poor miserable by hiking the prices of petroleum products which has cascading impact on inflation. Instead of catching those thieves, the Govt. is punishing the crores of poor by unduly hiking these prices ?

Thirdly, it is difficult to digest that the Govt. is helpless in controlling these prices. If the Govt. is really serious about taming inflation, then it should – (a) take punitive action on those who are responsible for pushing up the prices of essential commodities, (b) lower the taxes and duties and VAT etc. on petrol, diesel and LPG etc. so that it these items could be made available to the public at low rates, (c) recover thousands crores of ill-gotten wealth from a variety of scamsters and utilise those huge funds for providing reliefs and concessions to the people, and (d) quicken the pace of justice for the pending court cases and bring the criminals of economic offences to gallows at some public places, so that it serves as deterrent to many such other perverts with criminal mentality. And lastly, the State Govts. should not put the entire blame of the Central Govt. for higher prices, they should themselves devise some ways and means to lower the prices by lowering their own taxes / duties and VAT etc. on these items. Only by doing so, the galloping inflation can be tamed and lives of the common people made somewhat easily.

Practically speaking the UPA Government has become famous – particularly for two things, i.e. a long series of scams which have engulfed thousands crores of national wealth and galloping inflation which has made the lives of common people miserable, particularly of those who have meagre means and they try to manage their house-hold affairs on a very tight budget. That is why even after 64 years of independence, the number of people living below poverty line are increasing rapidly rather than showing any signs of decrease.

And lastly, as everybody knows by now that the former dictator of Libya, Col. Muammer Gaddafi has been killed few days ago putting an end to his 41 years of his dictatorship, but if the reports appearing in some sections of press are to be believed, it transpires that even that hardcore ruler had some very good and positive aspects of his administration worth imbibing, as he had devised a few schemes of the Govt. aimed at the welfare of the ordinary people. It is gathered that he was gentle and caring for the poor citizens of his country as he used to provide interest free loans to them for construction of their houses, provide free medical facility to them, poor people were fully exempted from paying their electricity bills and every newly couple was entitled and used to get financial aid of equivalent to US $ 50,000/- to start their family lives. It is strange to observe that if such welfare schemes can be practiced in a country like Libya, why just a few such facilities cannot be provided to the poor people in India (which is the largest democratic state in the whole world) despite knowing the fact that they really deserve and some of them are just dying due to the economic deprivations of various kinds. After all, it is only a question of political will and strong administration which can lead to such a poor friendly administrative dispensation.