The government is not employing the right strategy to tackle soaring fuel prices (“Diesel price up by Rs.3, LPG to cost Rs.50 more,” June 25). In India, the fuel subsidy is meant for the poor, and not the rich and the middle class. There must be a separate biometric card for LPG, diesel, kerosene and petrol users. Families must be divided into income groups and charged that way. There must also be an effort to go in for biofuels and solar energy.

R. Narasimhan, Madurai

There are two basic issues. As India has to import its fuel needs, international rates govern crude rates. The exchange rate of the dollar to the rupee is quite high. Is there a mechanism whereby exchange rates can be bargained on the issue of fuel imports alone?

Second, fuel prices need to be rationalised. Much of the taxes from fuel pricing are used for development work. This, when clubbed with populist subsidies, becomes terrible. The fact is that the rich use diesel and LPG in large quantities. Rather than subsidise these fuels, there should be a subsidy for the use of public transport. And, as a few readers have pointed out, alternative fuels have to enter the system.

Biranchi Narayan Acharya, Cuttack

We have no say in crude price increase in the international market. The allegation that the price increase is to help private players does not hold water as people do not buy oil from private outlets unless in an emergency.

Those who are protesting should force the government to develop alternative energy sources and provide better public transportation. There needs to be an intelligent debate in Parliament on this issue.

Joseph K.Varghese, Kochi

As a chemical business consultant, I am convinced that the government should be blamed for the present price hike for these reasons: There is not much of a difference between the price of global crude now and the last time when the government thought it fit to revise the fuel prices.

No worthwhile steps have been taken to implement alternative plans. In India, the appropriate alternative fuels are jatropha and algal biofuels, both of which require R&D. Small and medium-scale jatropha refining units are now languishing/closed for lack of support from the government.

Several multinational companies are working feverishly to develop algal biofuel, now acknowledged as a viable crude alternative. Even aircraft manufacturers are offering biofuel engine options. But there is nothing here despite India having appropriate and ideal conditions for cultivating algae.

No steps have been taken to curtail fuel consumption or improve fuel efficiency in vehicles. On the other hand, automobile manufacturers continue to churn out unsuitable models in a big way. No attention is being paid to mass transportation systems in spite of warnings about an impending crude oil crisis. India currently produces less than 30 million tonnes of crude per annum, a figure virtually stagnant for the last several years. On the other hand, imports are around 180 million tonnes which is likely to increase to around 220 million tonnes in the next few years, if the present usage trend continues. The government clearly lacks ideas.

N.S. Venkataraman, Chennai

Keywords: fuel price hike

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