The unprecedented increase in the prices of petrol and diesel testifies to the Government's failure to evolve a credible regulating mechanism to avoid shifting the burden on the common man. We fail to understand the economics of 8 per cent-plus growth rate in a country where farmers are dying of hunger and the common man is witnessing a consistent decline in purchasing power, but the government is emerging prosperous.

Sajjan Singh,
New Delhi

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Another oil price hike, and another round of protests by political parties to hoodwink the common man. The parties should ask for more than a rollback of prices. They should ask the Centre to cut down on excise duties on petro products and the States to reduce sales tax to maintain uniformity so that petrol does not sell for Rs.55 a litre in Karnataka and Rs.47 in New Delhi.

M. Jameel Ahmed,
Mysore

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It looks like the Government wants to keep its earnings constant and take only the international oil price as the variable. This is like auto drivers demanding extra money saying the price of petrol has gone up. The Government is expected to take a decision on such vital matters after a thorough and transparent analysis.

Group Capt.
N. Neelakantan (retd.),

Bangalore

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Given that short-distance transport is carried out in petrol-driven three-wheelers, the latest hike will lead to the spiralling of the prices of essential commodities.

K. Damodaran,
Thiruvananthapuram

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India should stop aping the West and the U.S. in oil consumption and instead look for alternatives like Brazil has done successfully with bio-fuels.

Dan Kongara,
Iselin, New Jersey

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While bio-fuels may not be the solution to the problem of rising petroleum prices, they can provide a cushion against over dependence on imported oil.

S.R. Venkatasubrahmaniam,
Chennai

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Is it also not time to ponder over ways of reducing our dependence on oil? Encouraging the use of public transport will help immensely. It will reduce consumption of petrol and diesel thus insulating the common man from frequent price hikes, traffic chaos on roads will come down on account of lesser number of vehicles, pollution will reduce considerably, the government will earn more revenue, job opportunities will increase, and the government will be relieved of the burden of subsidising oil. Above all, the country can save much in foreign exchange.

D. Balakrishnan,
Coimbatore