These days are troubling time for the Indian Economy and hence the Government of India, in a bid to reduce our import bill, had asked the Oil Ministry on ways to save fuel and Oil Ministry has replied back with a proposal to do away with 24×7 petrol pumps and only allowing them to sell fuel between 8am to 8pm.
If the Indian Government goes ahead with this plan, then you and I, the road trip enthusiasts and travelers would be the ones who would be most affected by this draconian and extremely regressive step. Because it will not only make it difficult to tank up if you are traveling long distance at night in your own vehicle, it will also likely raise the cost of bus travel, thanks to the private operators being arm twisted into coming up with their own night bunks or buying the fuel from black.
Even worse, it will help boost the secondary and illegal economy of India, as petrol and diesel would suddenly become things which can be easily sold in black at night, even in the capital of India. This in turn is counterproductive for the actual growth of the economy and the nation and will likely do little to reduce our overall fuel import bill.
A much better option would be to fast track the construction and deployment of Nuclear Power Plants, in a bid to ensure that our industries and businesses get 24×7 power supply to reduce their dependence on diesel generators and thus result in huge savings for the nation as well as reduction in air pollution and cost of operations for businesses and industries.
Even the reopening of coal mines and resuming production would help us lower our import bill immensely, considering the fact that we have world’s third largest coal reserves and are still importing it from other countries, thanks to various scams and exposures, causing courts to suspend mining in majority of new mines.
Government can further lower the fuel expenditure by running buses or cab service for bureaucrats, effectively ensuring carpooling for them and taking away their existing official cars, unless needed for an important field visit. Furthermore, MPs and MLAs can be asked to take special parliament buses, instead of using their own cavalcades and in turn burning a lot of fuel.
Further savings can be made by switching off air conditioning at government offices, which will result in lower import bill, since currently we produce majority of our electricity through coal and it is being imported right now.
There are a lot more steps the government can take to actually reduce these excessive costs to the economy, without actually hurting the common man or the poor or even the government servants, who are at the end of the day, an important cog in the engine of our nation.
Shutting off petrol pumps at night or even suggesting to do that, isn’t the right way forward and shows the “frog in a well“ attitude of the people who came and suggested this idea, because they are clearly unaware of the impact of this regressive step on the economy as a whole!