It was highly disappointing to see that the Goa Government chose to support the nationwide bandh to protest last week’s hike in petrol prices. Bandhs are a form of political terrorism unleashed by the political parties, who have made it their favorite pastime. Nowhere in the modern world, do such irrational, ill-conceived and self-destructive protests take place. Bandhs do not help either the people or the economy of the country. They should therefore not be encouraged by any political party. It is high time that India comes out with a stringent anti-bandh legislation to shut down such anti-national activities.
Willie Severes, Majorda
There seems to be no end to the common man’s worries and woes. Although the demand for the price roll back is genuine, the method adopted by the Central government opposition to pressurize the central government by resorting to bandh is appalling. This has caused losses running to an estimated Rs 14,000 crores to our economy for a day’s bandh, putting more pressure on the tax payer’s pocket. Would it not have been better if the BJP as a responsible opposition party at the centre played a constructive role by coming up with an alternate effective economic policy to counter increasing oil prices and growing inflation as a way out before the Manmohan Singh government, instead of resorting to bandh? Is a bandh the only solution the BJP has to these problems? In what way is the bandh effective in solving this and other problems permanently? Are not bandhs a bane for a nation already reeling under a heavy dose of inflation? People are forced to close their establishment unwillingly. What about those who don’t want to support bandh? What about his right to freedom? During the NDA regime oil prices had gone up 35 times why did they hike the price than? Why such a big hue and cry now?
Samir Khan, Mapusa
The editorial Bandh: politicians’ gain is common man’s loss (Herald June1, 2012) has exposed the real anti-nationals. These petrol hike protests appear to be fuelled by car manufacturing companies in which politicians have a stake. Interestingly these political parties do not protest when milk prices shoot up. While shedding crocodile tears about a weakening economy, these selfish politicians cause huge losses for the country to score political points and further their vested interests. These cowards force public transport off the roads and compel shopkeepers to down their shutters to claim that the bandh was a success. Tourists and office-goers had to face great hardship in Panjim because restaurants were shut.
The public does not necessarily support the bandh. But with the political party in Government supporting a bandh, particularly with the police force as spectators, the public cannot take any risk of asserting their fundamental rights and combating the hooligans let loose by political parties.
Soter D’souza, Socorro
The price of petrol in neighbouring Pakistan and Sri Lanka is lower than in India, even though the rate of the dollar is much higher- Rs 90 in Pakistan and Rs 130 in Sri Lanka. Even more ironical is the fact that petrol prices have increased in India, when the international oil prices have actually decreased. The problem lies with our convoluted tax structure. The base price of petrol in India is about Rs 40 per litre. Add to this another Rs 30 per litre by way of taxes such as excise, customs, VAT, plus transportation cost and dealer commission, making it Rs 70. Hence when the price of petrol is hiked by Rs 7.5, the oil cos. get only Rs 4.5 while the remaining Rs 3 per every litre sold in India is a ‘windfall’ for the centre and state governments. Therefore, in this particular instance, the roll-back of Rs 3 per litre is logical. In the long term, the solution to the problem is to freeze all taxes on petrol at about Rs 30 per litre. Whenever the dollar rises or falls, or the international price of oil increases or decreases, commensurate adjustment may be made only in the base price.
Thus the increase in petrol prices will be cushioned. Additionally the centre and states may erase taxes unilaterally as Goa did with VAT.
Robert Castellino, Calangute/ Mumbai
This refers to the People’s Edit ‘Statehood: A gift from Rajiv Gandhi’ by Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik. (Herald, May 30, 2012). Mr. Naik leaves no stone unturned in taking credit for Goa’s statehood. On the occasion of silver jubilee of statehood let us rise up and applaud this great gentleman. With the same breath I request Mr. Shantaram to ask any Goan what statehood means to them. The statehood we achieved is a hollow dream for common man, but a golden goose for the party to which Shantaram Naik belongs. Mr Naik, please take a keen look at Goa now and Goa as it was before independence, and compare the two. If you ask anyone aged above 65 years about the state of Goa today, he will tell you that we were better of during Portuguese time than now. Mr. Naik, your party, the Congress has brought the cancer to Goa, cancer of illegal mining, forest cutting, corruption in various departments, crimes etc. Mr. Naik wake up to the realty and ask yourself, ‘do Goans deserves this?’