04 Mar 2021  |   04:55am IST

Letters to the editor (04 March 2021)

Letters to the editor (04 March 2021)

Petrol hike affects common people

The hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG has affected the common people badly. At a time when bread earners have lost their jobs due to Covid and recession and those in employment have had their salaries cut, the steep increase in fuel prices has hit them hard.

It is common knowledge that when fuel cost increases, transportation cost goes up and everything that is transported becomes costlier - commodities, fruits and vegetables. Worse still, unlike the law of gravity, in prices what goes up never comes down.

The one-line reply usually given by government that the local increase in price is due to increase in the international price of fuel is not entirely true. In India, tax on fuel is charged at 260%, the highest in the world. If the International price of fuel goes up by Rs 3, we in India have to pay in all Rs 10.60 more. What hurts us therefore is not the basic cost of fuel but the very high tax on it.

Government should reconsider its taxation policy on fuel and relieve the people of this burden.

Until such time and even otherwise, as consumers, we should take some economic measures like using our vehicles only when necessary, commuting short distances by walk and even turning off the engine while waiting at the signals. Small measures but meaningful gains.

Rodney de Souza, Assagao 

Cut interest rates on E-vehicles Loans

Due to the rise in the price of crude oil, petrol and diesel prices have now hit Rs 93 and Rs 88 respectively per litre. Although the three major State oil marketing companies as well as a major private oil producer and refiner have shown strong results in the quarter ended December, 2020, it was possible that prices of petrol and diesel could have been reduced say by Rs 3 a litre.

Rising prices of petroleum products fuel inflation and thus this dilemma could be resolved so as to share the enhanced profitability of the oil marketing companies. However, use of petrol and diesel also increases the pollution in the country. It is here that a very aggressive push has to be given to popularise the use of electrical vehicles throughout India.

A prudent way of encouraging purchase of electrical vehicles is to reduce the percentage interest rates on loans for those purchasing electrical vehicles. Since fixed deposit rates are about 5.55%, interest on purchase of electrical vehicles can be say about 7.5 to 8% and those for purchasing petrol and diesel vehicles can be about 8.5 to 9%. Since electrical vehicles are costlier, total interest accrued on electrical vehicles can be same as those for the cheaper petrol and diesel vehicles.

Encouraging purchase of electrical vehicles will lead to substantial improvement in the ambient air quality and thus use of petrol and diesel can be sharply phased out to not only reduce the import bill on crude but also bring about much cleaner air quality.

Elvidio Miranda, Panjim

Vaccination for inmates of old age homes

Vaccination for people aged 60 and above and those in the 45-59 age bracket with comorbidities has already commenced in the country. In Goa after healthcare workers and frontline workers, several senior citizens have taken the first jab of the vaccine at the various government and private hospitals. In all this flurry of activities we should not forget the inmates of old-age homes.

Obviously all the inmates of old-age homes are senior citizens and many could also be having comorbidities. However these senior citizens cannot be allowed to go to the government facility individually for vaccination as they are being looked after by the care-takers of the old-age home. These inmates do not have the facility to register their names online for the vaccination. Hence obviously they have to be taken in groups to the hospital for vaccination after due process of registration is done. For this the government needs to have the facility of group registration for inmates of old-age homes.

Each old-age home needs to be given a particular date when the inmates can be brought to the government hospital in a group for the vaccination some of whom could be wheel-chair bound. The administration of the old-age homes needs to be in touch with the authorities concerned in order to arrange for the vaccination of the inmates in groups as it will be a very difficult proposition to get them vaccinated individually. 

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

The war against Covid, musings

The government's laudable intention of vaccinating the citizenry in double quick time has hit a roadblock with the CoWin portal crashing for the second straight day. The glitch seems to be a pan India problem, but an exception in the form of walk in registrations should be made for small states and Union Territories with small populations (below two million) like Goa. The fifteen private hospitals empanelled for the vax drive could not participate, owing to system crashes on Monday which might cost India dear in the long term, especially with the looming spectre of a second/ third wave. People without access to a mobile device or internet might be left out further jeopardising the vaccine rollout, hence the need for walk in registrations.

Bed ridden and immobile persons would pose another challenge for the healthcare system, limited door to door vaccination can be carried out for such mobility challenged individuals.To make the drive more widespread panchayat ghars and PHCs should also be designated vax centres with qualified doctors being posted at site by the state.

Though this might pose a humungous logistical challenge, the war against Covid has to be fought on multiple fronts and a lapse on any front will make the campaign an exercise in futility and defeat its very purpose. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are very challenging times we are living in.

Vinay Dwivedi, Benaulim 

Rising fuel prices; increasing costs

The national oil marketing companies hiking the price of LPG cooking gas cylinders by Rs25 each from March 1 has hit the average person hard. The hike is the second revision in five days and the fourth since February 4.

Besides domestic LPG, the price of a 19-kg cylinder meant for commercial establishments was also increased. Rising fuel prices can send the cost of essentials and transport soaring through the roof.

NJ Ravi Chander, Bengaluru

Monetary democracy

As stated often, there are democracies and democracies in this world of ours. But the one that is developing fast in our country is democracy which marches side by side with financial pelf. Our dekhni "aum saiba poltodi voitam" briefly and wittingly describes our nascent democracy.

"Mhaka saiba vatt dakoi" means please elect me and then Damuche matwant, kolwontancho khell.

AC Menezes, Chinchinim

Chinese cyber campaign against India

The report by the US-based firm Recorded Future suggesting that the power outage in Mumbai in October-2020 may have been the result of a Chinese cyber campaign against India amid ladakh standoff, is a serious issue to be noted.

The grid failure in Mumbai resulted in massive power outages, stopping trains on tracks, hampering those working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and hitting the stuttering economic activity hard.

And now targeting on Indian vaccine makers. It's said that people should register on #CoWIN portal (www.cowin.gov.in) for Covid-19 vaccination. The Chinese entity has been seen to systematically utilise advanced cyber intrusion techniques to quietly gain a foothold in nearly a dozen critical nodes across the Indian power generation and transmission infrastructure. Until recently, China focused on information theft but the country has been increasingly active in placing code into infrastructure systems. Replace Chinese-made hardware for India's power sector and its critical rail system. Chinese malware may be flowing into the control systems that manage electric supply across India, along with a high-voltage transmission substation and a coal-fired power plant. India should not allow any Chinese companies to participate in projects in India. Chinese investors should be barred. China is threat to democracy and freedom worldwide. They are danger and number one national security threat.

KG Vilop, Chorao

Blaming the virus? No, blame self

Purportedly second wave of Covid-19 infections is gathering attention in various parts of India where rising number of SARS-COV2 positives are seen. We need to introspect, is the virus responsible? The answer is most certainly no. The onus is on us. Remember, virus doesn't travel by itself, its humans who transmit it. All organisms evolve, and so does the virus, thanks to Darwin for bringing up the fact of "fittest species survives". The more heedless towards the Covid appropriate behaviour and foolhardy we act in public places, the virus gets more transmissible. Therefore as it spreads more into the population, it gets healthier, fitter and resilient day by day.

Everyone hears the Covid callertune each time they call someone, but wearing of masks isn't reflected in the behaviour. It is pointless to play blame shifting game on the new variants of the virus for the current scenario. Unless we pull up sleeves and commit ourselves to follow the measures of wearing masks, washing of hands, keeping safe distance i.e. by limiting the medium of the spread of the virus, are we expecting the lifeless body of a virus to do the needful?

Raghav Gadgil, Khandola