Sir — The steep hike in petrol prices reflects the government’s insensitivity to the plight of the common man (“Steepest hike of Rs 7.85”, May 24). Such indifference would further alienate the government from the people and mar its chances of winning the next elections, due in two years’ time. The increase in the price of petrol is bound to have a spiralling effect on the prices of other items too.
The ruling alliance claims to represent the interests of the aam admi. However, its actions are suggestive of the contrary. The recent rise in the cost of petrol is uncalled for, considering that the price of petrol is on the decline in the international market. For quite some time now, the only prerogative of this government has been to ensure its own survival Thus, when it is faced with a crisis, such as the slide in the value of the rupee, it resorts to shocking measures. The last hike has been the steepest one ever in the price of petrol. It should not come as a surprise to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government if the people do not vote for the Congress in the next general elections.
Ambar Mallick, Calcutta
Sir — Ever since the UPA came to power, rises in the price of petrol and other necessary items have burdened the common man. The latest rise comes as a rude shock and puts a great pressure on people from different economic strata. Petrol is a necessary commodity in any country. The rise in petrol price will create a domino effect and the prices of other commodities will also rise subsequently. This would contribute to inflation and the economically disadvantaged citizen would suffer the consequences. An essential commodity like petrol should be made tax-free. The government should take steps to that effect while making sure that the oil companies too make a reasonable profit.
The price of necessary goods has increased so much in the last few years that common men cannot buy them as per their requirements. While India is being projected as a superpower of the future, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening and politicians continue to fill their pockets with the taxpayers’ money.
Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi
Sir — The Central government should not be blamed for any price hike. It is already suffering the strain of deteriorating relations with its coalition partners and also facing policy paralysis with respect to the management of inflation, corruption and the like. However, one cannot but remark on the incapacity of the government to think of alternate means of controlling the soaring fuel prices. International crude oil prices are falling, but in our country, one has to pay a high price for petrol. The burden on the people is increasing with each passing day but the government seems to be insensitive to their plight.
Syed Khaja, New Delhi
Sir — The huge hike in petrol prices has become a topic of joke in social networking sites but the problem cannot be a subject of laughter. Fares of public transport will increase now, as will the prices of vegetables, fruits and milk. The Opposition has called a bandh on May 31 to protest against the price hike. As usual, the opposition parties are trying to use the occasion to serve their own narrow political interests.
The fall in the growth rate of the gross domestic product and the steadily sliding value of the rupee in relation to the dollar should be reasons enough for the indolent UPA government to take stock of the situation. It should strive to improve the economic condition of the country.
Surajit Ganguly, Howrah
Sir — The recent hike in the price of petrol is both unexpected and unpleasant. In spite of the subsidy of Rs 64,000 crore provided to oil companies, the price of petrol was increased by Rs 7.85 per litre. Rises in the prices of diesel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas will surely follow. The Union minister of rural development, Jairam Ramesh, is against fuel subsidy, as he revealed in his statement. He is in favour of utilizing the money saved from subsidies on welfare programmes, such as providing pension for people who are above 55 years of age. But being a seasoned politician, he must know that uncontrolled hikes in petrol prices would lead to hikes in the prices of commodities of everyday use — which would put more pressure on common people, including the elderly.
Rajeshwary Sengupta, Alipurduar
Sir — The government’s faulty economic policies are responsible for the steep rise in petrol price, the depreciation in the value of the rupee and the economic slowdown in general. The government should immediately roll back the hike in petrol prices. The Centre and the states should work together to bring some relief to the common man.
Ramesh G. Jethwani,Bangalore
Sir — The rise in the price of petrol in the span of a few months proves the government’s obstinacy and insensitivity (“Unavoidable”, May 25). I think that the price hike has got nothing to do with the real market price of petrol. It is just a way of extracting more money from the people to fill the government’s coffers. In the future, the government may well find itself sold over to the market if it does not take steps to regulate prices immediately.
Mukul Ranjan Chakraborty, Calcutta