| by N.S.Venkataraman
(November 06, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Government of India has, once again, increased the price of fuel , unmindful of the common man’s protests and unhappiness. One can be sure that this will not be the last time that the Government of India will increase the price of fuel offering the same explanation and excuse of global oil price fluctuation. What is disturbing is that the government has no strategies or forward plans to face the impending fuel crisis in the country. The lack of vision of the Government of India is conspicuous and no one can miss this.
It is very difficult to believe that there is no one in the government of India at the political or official level who have no better ideas. Obviously, the leadership is not encouraging innovative ideas to be thought about and implemented. This may be a sharp criticism but considering the ground realities and the attitude of the government about increasing the price of fuel every now and then, this criticism is absolutely justified and appropriate.
If the government would give an impression that it is helpless in facing the fuel crisis, it would certainly shake the confidence of the people and economic entities in the country and considerably lower the morale. The government has to attempt to do something and also give a clear impression that it is trying. Today, the Government of India appears to be like a sitting duck offering no response to the fuel challenges that is confronting the country.
The first criticism against the government is that it has failed to curb the increase in the consumption of the fuel , particularly for transportation purposes. Governments both at the central and the state level account for big chunk of consumption of fuel for transportation. The common man often see the Chief Minister particularly in states like Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh , travelling in their official cars accompanied by several cars of security men and hangers on , particularly when they go on tour. This shows the attitude of the politicians and the government about curbing the consumption of fuel. The attitude of the bureaucrats and officials in use of the government vehicles are no different.
The government is mindlessly encouraging the production of automobiles in the country, without fixing a ceiling as to how many cars should really be on the roads in India given the road conditions and the fuel consumption. With thousands of cars and two wheelers being produced everyday, Indian roads are now ”flooded” with vehicles , contributing to ever increasing huge consumption of fuel. The public transport system in India are in deplorable state and the government is really paying only lip service to mass transportation system , without showing the urgency that it deserves.
The technologists and engineers have been repeatedly urging the government to encourage research and development efforts for development and use of alternate fuel such as jatropha and algae bio fuel. While there was huge euphoria about the use of jatopha bio fuel a few years back, the government has given a silent burial for the jatropha bio fuel projects by not introducing innovative and cost benefit incentive schemes. Huge investments that have been made in the jatropha projects in the country are now facing closure and uncertainty due to indifferent attitude of the government.
Millions of dollars are now being spent in developed countries in R&D work for the development of algae bio fuel at economical cost. India has huge opportunities due to tropical conditions and coastal belt for the cultivation of algae and development of algae bio fuel. But the government of India does not appear to be listening and is guilty of not initiating appropriate development projects for algae bio fuel on suitable scale with the urgency that it deserves. This gives an impression as to whether the government of India is not interested at all in finding alternate fuel to face the impending fuel crisis in the country.
Everyone knows that global crude oil price is fluctuating and the government of India has no control over it. But, certainly the people expect that Government of India should try and make convincing and credible efforts to face the grim situation. The disappointing fact is that the government has failed to rise up to the occasion and the country men have to pay for this.