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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

City fumes after petrol price hike Latest Increase Sees Rate Near 80-Mark


The single largest increase in petrol prices in India's history has understandably caused ripples of shock among consumers who found the Rs 7.92 hike per litre too hard to stomach. In one fell swoop, each user now has to shell out over 12% more on his daily commute, not to mention the snowball effect the increase will have on general inflation. 
    Until Wednesday, petrol cost Rs 70.66 per litre in Mumbai and the latest hike will see the rate near the Rs 80-mark. 
    No longer does the upper middle class remain insulated from the ambit of inflation. "Jo humpey guzarni hai ek baar guzar jaaye/ Woh kitne situmgar hain, khull jaaye toh achha ho!" said actor Farooque Shaikh, voicing the common man's helplessness. The Urdu verse urges the powers-thatbe to do the worst they can in one stroke so that their torturous ways are exposed. 
    Actor Hema Malini admitted to scolding her staff at the enormous petrol bills they run up each month. "I scrutinize my monthly expenses when I sign the transport vouchers and I cannot help being shocked at the cost escalation," she said. "If well-to-do households feel this way, one can only imagine the plight of the average consumer. At this rate, we will all have to travel by autorickshaws now." 
    Former bureaucrat Dinesh Afzulpurkar is not immune to the substantial spike either. "I travel from my Nariman Point residence to Shushrusha Hospital in Dadar, where I am a director, each day. I cannot help notice how my fuel costs have risen in the past year or two, but this increase is too uncomfortable to bear. Salaried employees will suffer," he said. 
    The new peak has caused vehicle owners to reconsider their mode of travel. Nilesh Vaidya, a security manager at a five-star hotel, commutes from Goregaon to Vile Parle each day but often travels to other cities, including Pune by car. His reaction was one of stunned silence. Like him, Abdul Shahid Siddiqui, a dealer in antiques at a South Mumbai hotel, failed to see why the economists in government could not avoid such an enormous "rationalization". "Where is this country headed? This is 'zulm' (atrocity). The poor will soon have no means of living an honourable, dignified existence. Even the average salesperson uses a two-wheeler, it is not as if petrol is a luxury of the upper class," he said. 
    Anxiety was visible at ground zero too. As he handled long queues of last-minute fillers, pump manager Jagdish Ingle was anxiously debating how to fend them off once stocks ran dry. "People accuse us of halting supplies deliberately. How do I explain that I suffer the same predicament? I travel to work from Jogeshwari to Grant Road and I am wondering if I should take the train instead," he says. Ingle had bought a motorcycle to escape the sardine-can situation in trains. In Ghatkopar, pump owner Pulin Shah agonized over having to pay Rs 1.6 lakh every day to procure the same amount of fuel for his gas station. 'IT'S A GRIM INDICATION OF UNION GOVT'S WRONG FISCAL POLICY'

Opera House, 9pm

    The latest 
    hike is a grim indication of the Union government's wrong fiscal policy. It will throw the common man's budget out of gear 
Ram Naik | FORMER PETROLEUM MINISTER, BJP LEADER


I will end up spending Rs 25,000 more and no client will reimburse these hidden costs 
Chetan Raikar | 
ENGINEER

One cannot cut down on travel but several other budgetary cuts will be made in every home 
Dinesh Afzulpurkar 
| FORMER CHIEF SECRETARY


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