Austerity begins at your home, not at their home

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: With petrol and diesel prices going through the sky, and the energy crisis hitting all and sundry, everybody, starting from the Prime Minister down to government officials, everybody has been advocating austerity and offering advice FOC to you and me.

To masses already reeling under the weekly spiral of uninhibited inflation, all this gyaan does little to cheer you up when you consider the working style of those proffering you advice on how you should lead your life.

Let’s see what they are doing themselves to save fuel, energy or equally precious things like air, water and money:

1. Most of the electricity boards have resorted to scheduled/ unscheduled load shedding in various localities at night. However, it is not uncommon to see streetlights burning during day time, all through the day, sometimes in the same locality where the electricity office is located.

2. Monsoon rains appear to have failed so far with farmers still waiting for seeds, fertilisers and water in that order. Amidst all this we see water flowing along the road through broken/ leaking pipes for hours at a stretch and our water supply and irrigation boards couldn’t care less.

3. Petrol and diesel may be getting exorbitant for you and me, but is for the government? How else do you explain the mile-long motorcades of party workers and friends and families accompanying the chief minister, ministers and other VIPs, even for opening a hair-cutting saloon or an internet browsing centre? Why hasn’t the CM imposed a ban on the number of vehicles that can accompany the ministers on their business-cum-pleasure outings? Imagine the saving in petrol and diesel, sound and air pollution, not to speak of clogging of traffic?

4. Whether to go for the Indo-US nuclear deal needs thorough discussion. However, endless rounds of discussion day in and day out doesn’t do anybody any good, except to our leaders from the Left. Unlike their Chinese friends and comrades, our left leaders are not terribly busy and have a lot of free time. So  it is not surprising they want more and more discussions on the same topic. How about discussing an issue with lights and air conditioners blazing away till death over steaming cups of chai and endless supply of pakoras?

5. It is common knowledge that any project if finished on time saves a lot of man-hours, cost overruns and inflation. That too projects which would have saved thousands of gallons of diesel not to speak of petrol. Yet successive governments have delayed the project of doubling of railway line between Mysore and Bangalore, probably deliberately. This would have ensured faster, pollution-free and cheaper travel for the public apart from tremendous saving in diesel oil. Maybe there is a bus lobby, or a diesel cartel. Whatever it is, Government doesn’t bother to finish projects on time and/ or looks for scuttling such projects!

No wonder everybody finds it easier to give you advice, that too FOC.