Nigerian arrested for overstaying TEAM HERALD firstname.lastname@example.org
CALANGUTE: A Nigerian was arrested by Calangute police on Friday on charges of overstaying in India without valid documents.
Police said Odika Ginika (37) had a forged visa on his passport and was detained by the Calangute Police in this connection. PSI Melson Colaco is investigating the case.
The unprecedented quantum jump in petrol price earlier this week has come just some six months after the last hike was announced. There is the all too familiar claims of mounting losses. The revision may have been inevitable. Of the claimed loss of Rs 138,000 crores , which the three major oil companies have incurred on sale of fuel, the government has agreed to give them Rs 83,500 crore, which leaves a gap of Rs 55,000 crore. Adjustments to diesel, LPG and kerosene prices are still pending.
Oil companies suffer losses on account of selling other fuel products at below-market prices. Experts claim that LPG and kerosene prices need to be hiked by around 38% and 220% in order to erase the losses of oil marketing companies. It is not the case that the International crude oil prices have been moving upwards only. But whatever decline in prices of crude oil had occurred was more than offset by the falling value of the rupee. Prices of the regulated fuels -- diesel, LPG and kerosene – have remained unchanged since June 2011. It is unlikely that kerosene witnesses an upswing in the immediate future, though a hike in diesel and LPG cannot be ruled out.
There is no effort being made to see this as a national problem, and arrive at a consensus to deal with it. The Government thinks it unwise to take harsh decisions to link the prices to market conditions. The opposition considers it wise to lampoon the Government on the price rise, whether or not the hike is justified. The public takes it for granted that the national treasury or the State treasury should bear the burden of their wanton use of the fuel. We had worse conditions with regard to fuel in the past. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi even went to office in a horse cart to drive home the need for austerity in fuel consumption. In the then Rhodesia, Prime Minister Ian Smith rode bicycle to office. These were significant symbolic messages, alerting their nations to the gravity of the problem. Today, the atmosphere is different.
Some years ago, there was a car pool scheme started in some parts of the country where points were earned by car owners by car pooling in a bid to save fuel, but unfortunately it failed to gain popularity. The government has now left diesel prices untouched, thus leaving those splurging on diesel vehicles unaffected. This is indeed a confusing approach. Diesel should not be treated like a sacred cow. No doubt, prices of diesel have a snow-balling effect on commodity prices and that is the government’s logic for leaving it untouched. Diesel is the most used fuel – almost four times that of petrol. Actually, its sales rose by almost five million tonnes in 2011-12, in comparison to less than a million tonnes in the case of petrol. Evidently, most of the import therefore goes to meet the demand for diesel, in comparison to other fuels. The hike now announced would mean a difference of almost Rs 18 a litre between petrol and diesel now, as against hardly Rs 13 five years ago.
What is even more shocking is that petrol which was regarded once as a rich man’s fuel is no longer so, because it is the two-wheelers and even three wheelers which consume petrol. Ironically, the up-market vehicles owned by the affluent are predominantly run on diesel. A car owner who would have consumed 150 litres a month can now save in thousands by switching on to diesel and travel longer distances due to better engine mileage. The subsidy which was primarily meant for the poor farmers, truckers and bus operators is being hogged by the affluent class!
The time has come for a serious debate on having a National Fuel Policy and a determined effort at curbing fuel consumption beyond bare necessity.
PWD Contractors’ Payments
Mahesh (Dattaram) T Nayak
It is pertinent to note that there are bills to the tune of the amount of nearly Rs 300 to Rs 400 crores of different contractors of PWD pending. This is surprising and shocking. The definition of the PWD is Public Works Department, but these contractors has changed the definition to ‘Public (money) Waste Department’ as they do not do the work according to the tender order/work order, and thus there are deaths due to accidents on the roads. If the PWD constructs a four-lane at Raia, Amoda four deaths will occur at a time. This won’t be surprising as the diameter is never followed at the time of road construction, and there is no proper supervision of the PWD. All work done, is settled by percentage only by sitting in office, and not by the correct work. The main contractor is gives the work to a sub-contractor on commission basis, and the bill is prepared in the main contractor’s name. Further one contractor has three firms registered in three deferent names, but the owner is one and he is entitled to more tenders.
In last Assembly session when Congress Government was in power, the Opposition leader raised the point about the contractors stating that although they do not do the work allotted to them, work allotted to them, the bills are cleared. But how is that now being a CM he is quiet on this subject? The Government, before making payments to the contractors should ensure the following:
1) Whether the PWD has funds before floating the tenders 2) whether the tenders were allotted according to proper procedures of PWD or the politicians’ whims. 3) Check the work site by conducting an inspection along with experts and with the Chief Engineer to check whether the work allotted is carried out according to the work order? 4) Check on the number of tenders issued on which work other than that specified on the tenders is carried out. 5) Check on the number of tenders floated for which, although the paper work is done, the actual work is not done, yet the payments are released.
It is shocking to note that even the PWD has hired vehicles having private registration numbers. This reveals the illegalities indulged in by the PWD. Those who worked in the PWD as supervisors, Engineers, drivers, and storekeepers are today number one contractors possessing assets worth crores of rupees which is indeed very shocking.