They: Our lords, inheriting the power corridors of Delhi and the Indian states
Us: The subjects, always taken for granted, and so treaded and trampled at will
They: Varsha, Parnakuti, Shivgiri, and many more – good names for houses, isn’t it? – Especially, when they suck in great count of green papers.
Maharashtra ministers have spent around Rs 13 crore for renovation of their official bungalows in the last two years. Big names of Maharashtra politics like Prithviraj Chavan, Harshavardhan Patil, Narayan Rane, Dilip Walse Patil, Sunil Tatkare, Suresh Shetty, alone count for over Rs. 6 crore of the booty.
An RTI query reveals Mayawati spent over Rs. 86 crore on renovating her bungalow which she is still occupying as the former chief minister. It is said some windows of the Mall Avenue address in Lucknow cost as much as Rs. 15 Lakh.
Us: Home to almost 80 million homeless people and over 65 per cent of the below-the-poverty line population; we make ‘the India’ that our lords so comfortably trample.
India’s reducing rural populations is not the Arabian Nights tale of systematic, planned migration. Every major city in India has seen increase in slum population in the last decade. There is no land in the urban India. Even if it is available with the cardboard houses, one needs to pay an astronomical sum.
We live in the absolute comfort of counting every penny every day, every month to meet that ever increasing electricity or fuel cost or the monstrous monthly rentals of India’s metros while our lords are stoically busy in mocking us. Like Prithviraj Chavan said it was just a routine renovation. Like our beloved Montek Singh Ahluwalia, on Rs. 35 Lakh toilets, said that it was just routine.
They: An RTI response obtained by the activist Chetan Kothari revealed that 59 official cars of the Union Ministers generated fuel bill of Rs. 3.76 crore between 2009 and 2011. This was when these cars mapped the Delhi roads only. It followed the 2009 austerity drive announced by the Congress party.
According to a set of data as displayed on the Transparency Portal of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, our lords and industrialists are getting one LPG cylinder every fourth day for their Delhi houses. It ranges from the high of 369 refills for Navin Jindal to the 26 refills for Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy in the year to May 31 as a report on the website of Business Standard says.
Now it cannot be for their individual families. But if the arguments behind such high numbers are referring to the high number of visitors, then, Netas should be made to pay the commercial prices and not the domestic unit LPG prices they are availing.
Us: Government is reeling hard under the pressure and everyone, from our economist prime minister to his coterie of advisors to industrial proponents, is advising to cut the subsidies further.
After petrol, major demand is now diesel and LPG.
Manmohan Singh said that India needed to tighten its belts and needed to take corrective domestic measures while returning from Brazil after attending the Rio+20 Summit. Now don’t expect anything dramatic. Be prepared to make your wallet even lighter.
Anyway, the discrimination has always been aesthetically skewed.
While our lords consume 369 LPG cylinders a year, we cannot get the next one booked before 21 days.
Diesel and LPG may go the petrol way soon. It is just matter of days.
Government is almost certain to cap the subsidized LPG cylinders for us. The rumour mill says we cannot have more than eight LPG cylinders per year at subsidized rates in coming days.
Here we are not talking about Kerosene, still the backbone of cooking in large swathes of small town and rural India. Kerosene is also high on price deregulation radar.
Some more jewels in the crown to follow – watch out for more Takes.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/