With yet another blockade imposed along the highways of the State, there are dramas that unfold, performed by different actors. It is not surprising that the officials of the Indian Oil Company and department of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution were quick to attend to a complaint lodged over the purity of Petrol distributed in one of the pumps in Imphal. The officials checked the quality of the Petrol and declared the stock fit to be sold to the public. Earlier, as soon as the announcement for the blockade was made by the United Naga Council, the CAF & PD minister appealed the people not to panic. He also immediately announced the stock position of fuel, LPG and other essential goods, assuring that not only his department, but the State government with all its machineries is prepared for ‘fighting the blockade’. Needless to guess, this preparation is all about fighting the scarcity of essential commodities, as most of them come along the highways. Many organisations on the other hand, have time and again insouciantly resorted to using the cheap tactics of raising demands by blocking highways. Scarcity of vehicular fuel is something that hits the hardest on peoples’ psyche. Our dependency on fossil fuel is deep-seated; and this will remain so, until a viable substitute to fossil fuel is discovered or invented for mass consumption. However, it is important to note the kind of fuel scarcity dramas that are enacted round the year, whether there is blockade or not. How can you possibly say that there are scarcities when you have scores of unlicensed vendors selling petrol on the road sides? Fuels are sold openly at the roadsides, where officials of IOC and CAF & PD passed through every day. These roadside vendors have not procured fuels from online shopping; they have obtained from oil pumps by paying extra money. Why are the authorities blind to such practices? If the authorities are serious about ensuring the quality of fuel, then they must also be equally serious about the quantity of it as well. One way of checking the fuel would be to enforce the outlets to digitally display the stock of fuels that they have in their storage tanks. We know there is bleak possibility of such a proposal turning into reality. For this is true that black marketeers operate at different layers of power and influences. They can buy silence and make people blind, particularly of those people who can stop and reprimand them for their act. Moreover, scarcity dramas are also enacted by different players regarding essential commodities in the market other than the fuel. Just check the prices of commodities that are currently available in the market. Prices have shot up uncontrolled. With the State authorities doing little to check the price rise that are enacted by crooked business cartels, student bodies make it a point to intervene. And yet again, they will be discouraged by giving deceitful advice to concentrate only in their studies. Let it be known that such involvement of students in the affairs that are happening outside their classrooms have been necessitated by the ‘undoings’ of the authorities. One may denunciate UNC for chocking the highways, but criminality of those taking undue advantage out of the situation are no less than the former.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh