Governments in the past fixed prices of petroleum products artificially. They did this to keep the prices low, through heavy subsidy. The policy has now backfired with the people believing that fuel is indeed cheap. Oil is as precious as gold and it is as much influenced by international factors. It has always been a cash cow for the Centre and the States.

While every State is blaming the Centre for the rise in oil prices, none has come forward to reduce the sales tax, which is upwards of 25 per cent. If international parity in prices is not brought in, public sector oil companies will bleed to bankruptcy.

B. Lakshminarayanan,
Chennai

* * *

A rise in petrol prices was inevitable and long overdue. How long can oil companies bear the loss? Opposing everything for the sake of opposing is not right.

K.G. Shankar,
Chennai