Thursday, September 5, 2013

Daring escape by IAF officers from Pak jail - Part 2

Second and last part of M P Anil Kumar's piece on the escape of three IAF officers from a Pak jail 41 years ago. "The three escapees were never feted for their awesome attempt... The threesome truly deserves official recognition. Why not honour them at least now through retroactive decoration?" asks the author. More 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Shutting petrol pumps and #MoilyIdeas

Petroleum minister Veerappa Moily's idea of shutting down petrol pumps at 8 pm in order to save fuel consumption, shows how befuddled the central political and administrative machinery in the country is, on improving the economy. (The original story in Indian Express & in Epaper). It's difficult to even understand the logic behind this bizarre thought.

Very few petrol pumps are open late in the night, and fewer open round the clock. Most petrol pumps anyway shut by 10 pm. Never heard of people filling up petrol and going on long drives in the night just because they saw fuel stations are open after 8 pm. Wonder how much Moily thought the oil companies would save by closing these pumps 2 hours early.

If at all such a restriction comes into place, one, people will fill more petrol in the hours when the pumps are open. Two, people who need fuel on emergency will be put to great hardship. Three, a remote possibility of vested interests hoarding petrol and selling it near stations illegally at a higher price for people who are caught unawares and need fuel urgently after 8 pm.

Moily's remark has led to a flood of comments on Twitter with the hash tag #Moilyideas. It was trending for a while yesterday. But the tweets are still pouring in here.

Here are some of them:

Nikhil Narayanan ‏@nikhilnarayanan
"Boss, I need to leave by 7 today. Gotta fill fuel" ~ Possible office-talk, thanks to #moilyideas 

Mocking Bard ‏@Spooferman_ 
People are getting fat. Please shut down restaurants between 8am and 8pm.

IndiaFirst ‏@NiketNabriya1
Government bans sex from 8pm to 8am to conrol population explosion! 

Faking News ‏@fakingnews
BREAKING: ATMs to close down by 8 PM to arrest the slide of rupee

Gaurav Sabnis ‏@gauravsabnis
After 8 pm, women traveling alone in cars should walk on the streets instead.

Now Moily says the idea to shut down pumps came from the public and not from the government.

Everyone, including people in government, know that there's not control on fuel consumption for government vehicles. The common logic is that since it comes free, why bother. That attitude has to change, because that's where the maximum wastage occurs.

Secondly, limit free trips and travel allowances for government functionaries.

Thirdly, remove the subsidy for diesel. Or if that could add to inflation, then have differential pricing mechanism for it.

I am sure people are willing to take the hard measures, provided they see that the government itself is setting an example.