Indian Oil Corporation Chairman R.S. Butola walks 15 km to office while ONGC chief Sudhir Vasudeva takes metro once in a week, as the oil PSU heads take lead in shunning petrol or diesel guzzling cars to support Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily’s call for fuel conservation.
State gas utility GAIL’s Chairman and Managing Director B.C. Tripathi too walked from his residence to office and back while two joint secretaries in the Oil Ministry rode bicycles.
Mr. Moily himself took metro to office on October 9, as part of a campaign to promote fuel conservation so as to help cut the nation’s massive oil import bill.
Mr. Moily had given a call to declare Wednesdays, starting from October 9, as ‘Bus Day’ or ‘Public Transport Day’ for his Ministry and 14 public sector oil companies.
“I am happy that my call has received such a wide support. IOC Chairman (Butola) walked 15 km to office, so did GAIL Chairman (Tripathi). Two of my joint secretaries came on bicycles and others either took metro or a bus,” Mr. Moily said.
Mr. Moily travelled to office by metro on October 9. The subsequent Wednesday was a public holiday, but it didn’t stop people like ONGC’s Vasudeva to continue using metro to office.
“We have to take lead in saving fuel. On the first day, (October 9) we saved an estimated Rs. 2 crore in fuel bill as all of us left cars in garages and took public transport.”
India spent almost $145 billion on importing oil last fiscal and the conservation drive is aimed at cutting the huge foreign exchange outgo which is the single-biggest reason for some of present economic woes like current account deficit.
Mr. Moily said he and all officials in his Ministry and in oil PSUs nationwide will travel by public transport every Wednesday.
Joint Secretaries Neeraj Mittal and Aramane Giridhar rode bicycles for 8 km to office. Oil Secretary Vivek Rae did not use his official car while Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) P.K. Singh and Mr. Moily’s P.S. Sanjeev Kumar took separate metros to office.
The rest of the 200-odd staff in his Ministry too took public transport, while most PSU staffers used car pools or took the metro or bus to office.
“I have requested other Ministers to also declare one day of the week as ‘Bus Day’, during which staffers should be encouraged to utilise only public transport for their daily commute,” Mr. Moily said.
Mr. Moily said though he has issued a circular to his Ministry and the oil PSUs, the move is totally voluntary.
He is hoping measures such as Bus Day and a Rs. 52 crore nationwide six-week mega campaign to propagate conservation of oil and gas will help taper demand and cut oil import bill.
Mr. Moily has suggested to the Department of Personnel that it introduce staggered office timings for government employees to ease peak-hour traffic and has asked the Urban Development Minister to introduce a free cycle scheme in select cities to help save fuel.