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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Great Indian Drama After The Petrol Price Hike

Since the last price hike by the central government, there has been a lot of sounds of discontent from different quarters, specifically targeting the prime minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and the finance minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. Most of the political leaders have taken this opportunity to fish in the muddied water. So, we have a General Strike on 31st May, called by the BJP (or is it NDA?), we have a UP bandh called by Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party, we have protest rallies by CPI(M) & the left front, and even by their sworn enemy, the TMC. At last, amidst this intolerable heat and humidity, some good news! We are going to have some off days to chill. And, in the process, Indian economy will lose some hundreds of crores of rupees. But, that's acceptable. After all, the interest of the common man is sacrosanct.
Common man? Yes. At least the political leaders, as well as our netizens, would like everybody to believe that.
You still end up asking an idiotic question. Who actually can be tagged as the all important "common man"? Now, come on! Please don't show the entire world the true depth of your intellect, you will be told. Still, you persist on knowing how the common man is effected by the hike in the price of the petrol. You will be told in a very condescending manner that the common man in India today owns 2 wheeler and 4 wheeler, goes to his workplace normally driving his own car, goes to the neighborhood market riding his bike and still you ask such questions. After all, isn't India shining? You shake your head in acceptance and walk away.
In the fear of making a joker out of yourself, you fail to ask the questions that had been trying hard to open the lock-gate and come out of your mouth. There were so many of them. You wanted to know whether the people who cannot spend Rs. 32 per day in a metro or the people who earn Rs. 33 per day, are they called "uncommon man" ? The people who travel by public transport system everyday because they cannot afford a 2 wheeler, let alone a 4 wheeler, whether they also are called "uncommon man" or not. The villager, who depends on the 100 days work scheme, what's his tagline? How do you classify the hawker on the pavement, the conductor on the private bus, the porter at the rail station, the panwalah near your home, the newspaper hawker, the domestic help, the vegetable seller? And this list is endless. Are not they the numerically superior group of people? If so, following the principle of democracy, should not they be called the "common man"?
Oh, come on! These are irrelevant questions and raised simply to derail the agitation of the leaders of the masses. So what, if the daily labourer and his family have to skip a meal due to the strike? If the people from the bottom most strata of the society go on empty stomach for half a day or one day, is that a big deal? After all, they are used to it.
But, we, the empowered common men of India, cannot travel in the crowded buses amidst this heat and humidity. We cannot walk to the market as we don't have the time. We have to switch on the AC in the car to beat the heat. And, all these require petrol as the source of energy. So, if the Government has given a free hand to the oil companies in deciding the price, that is so unethical. So what, if the oil companies have to bear huge losses by selling petrol at a price lower than the cost? So what, if ultimately the taxpayers' money is being used for compensating the oil companies? At least, we bought petrol at a cheaper rate na!
And the circus continues!
P.S. This information is issued in the public interest, and is for all those men and women, who put up posters on Facebook and other social networking forums, claiming to provide a "break-up" of the cost to final price for a litre of petrol.
At Kolkata, the actual break-up is as follows - 
Petrol Cost                                     Rs. 44.70
Dealer Fee                                      Rs. 11.50
Central Taxes                                  Rs. 14.78
State Taxes                                     Rs. 16.90
End Price at Pump                             Rs. 77.88
Source: The Telegraph, Calcutta. Friday, 25 May 2012. Front Page.

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