The Indian National Congress is contemplating to launch a nationwide agitation along with other parties on the rising fuel prices and falling rupee, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance coalition government of unleashing economic terror on the nation. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari informed that the date of the agitation will be decided on September 6 after a meeting with the party general secretaries and state unit chiefs. Tewari added that if fuel prices are not reduced, Congress will take to the streets to launch a nationwide agitation from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. A meeting was called today to plan the strategy.
The political propaganda on fuel price is at its highest, as Tewari reminded the nation that in June 2008, the petrol price was raised from Rs 45.52 to Rs 50.52 and the price of diesel from Rs. 34.76 to 37.76 (during UPA government). That time the crude price was $138.54 per barrel. In July, 2008, the price of crude oil went up to $145 per barrel.
He added that as the UPA government increased the price of petrol by Rs 5 and that of diesel by Rs 3, a BJP spokesperson had charged the UPA government of unleashing economic terror, at present under the NDA government the crude price is almost $70 per barrel and petrol price is Rs 78 per litre in Delhi, Congress demanded and answer from the government if it is not economic terror.
This time Tewari stated that a nation-wide agitation on this will definitely take place. Considering the current crude oil prices, the petrol price should be about Rs 39 a litre and diesel Rs 37.50, including all taxes.
However, more than political gimmicks, the nation requires sensitization on conservation of fuel, particularly petroleum and its products. The massive abuse and dependence of petroleum for transportation is the main consumption in Meghalaya in the absence of industries.
Almost every individual family owns a car and some own more than one. The rise of two wheelers in the state is horrifying, be it for official or just school dropping and pickup, vehicles are used extensively for these purposes in Meghalaya. Next comes the unique share taxi system in the state capital which has made transportation quite affordable had turned every individual to be over dependent on hiring taxi.
The authority should make it compulsory for educational institutions to own school buses then encourage public transport; this will surely reduce the number of vehicles for every individual child as being practiced now. The proposed ‘No vehicle movement’ is just a temporary solution, which will surely cause inconvenience to the public in general, and the school students in particular.
Making it compulsory for the school to have public transport; which the Defence and Police department are adopting will not only ease the traffic congestion, the safety and security of the students too could be maintained. The bus driver and conductor, if needed with a security personnel can pick up the students from their respective locality and drop them back after school and this has been proven as the safest means of transportation worldwide for school students.
In other states even the college students have their public transport system, while here in the state capital the North Easter Hill University on various occasion expressed the loss incurred in the bus services.
The sheer number of vehicles that are seen on the city roads is the main reason for the daily traffic snarls in the city. Keeping in mind that Shillong is an unplanned city with narrow roads at best, it is no wonder that the vehicles on the streets have to jostle for position, often causing more traffic problems when they move out of queue.
The ease with which people can buy cars now is also another factor as financing has become the order of the day. Nowadays, people can, with very little trouble, procure a car through financing and later pay a very nominal monthly EMI towards the cost of the car.
This has led to many individuals buying cars when they would not have done so otherwise, thereby adding to the logjam caused by the sheer number of cars in the city as mentioned above.
At the same time, the parents who had moved for school bus to ease the traffic congestion have simply given up the fight as the STPS refuse to serve as school buses. The same committee should now press on educational institutions to acquire the buses for the same as done in other countries, also some institutions in other states.
All it takes is political will and cooperation of the citizens to solve the problem as expansion of the existing lanes is impossible in the city. Therefore, parent circles or groups should move the school authority and the state government to make it compulsory to have a public transport system, which will not only ease the traffic congestion, but most importantly ensure the security of the students who have to rush to the school in time and be back home safe and sound.
The Congress while calling for a nationwide agitation along with other parties on the rising fuel prices and falling rupee, should also sensitize its party workers on how to reduce the use of vehicles and walk within the city, which will not only ease the traffic congestion, it will conserve our environment and also help individuals to be healthy. The agitation is only for political gimmick, which may not find the solution, but once the society cooperates it can surely result in a much healthier future.