5th July, 2010 was the day that saw a Nation-wide bandh in India. It was a protest against the uncontrolled price rise most notably in the petroleum products which has been going on since years. The big question people have been asking each other (mostly the under-previliged) is "Was this bandh that necessary?". Did this bandh serve as a wake up call for the government who are ignoring the public sentiments for quite some time now or was it an inconvenience?
To be honest , there was no other way to express this burning public discomfort against the government. This issue has already been raised in the Parliament many times without getting any appropriate or justified results and a protest is the best way to wake up the sleeping giant, that is the government. The BJP and LEFT parties combined forces to form this strange alliance to oppose the Congress and looking at the results, you can conclude that the Bandh was a sure success.
Now let's get a bit into the issue of the ever increasing prices which is hitting the Indian public badly. The petrol prices were declared to be raised by 3 Rs/lit which led to this outburst in the public. It would be interesting to note that the inflation in India had already hit a 2 digit mark at the end of 2009 (it stood at 11.49% to be precise). The petroleum prices in India have increased to an extent where it is becoming difficult for the common man to buy even half a litre petrol everyday. Petrol is costing at Rs. 55.88/lit at the moment in Mumbai which is a stunning figure when you compare the petrol prices of India with the neighbouring Asian countries. Compared to India, the prices of petrol in Pakistan is Rs. 26/lit , Bangladesh is Rs. 22/lit and Nepal, who is importing fuel from India is Rs. 32/lit. The petroleum prices in India are reaching an unacceptable standard. But that wouldn't be the only concern. The inflation in food prices is even a more remarkable figure. The prices of food items have increased by 16.5% over May last year most notably the price rise in pulses which is a shocking 32.4% and prices of eggs, meat and fish have increased by a whooping 35%!
The Congress, in their defense had quite a lot to say about the increasing prices. The Petroleum minister, in his defense said that between 1998 and 2004 , when the BJP-led NDA was in power, the prices of kerosene were increased by the petroleum minister by around 4 times the original price. The increase in kerosene was more than 250% which is a shocking figure. He mentioned that the Congress waited for 6 years before increasing the price of petrol marginally by Rs. 3 per lit which is not much considering the havoc caused by the BJP govt. when they were in power. It is interesting to note that even though NDA increased the prices of petrol 8 times during its reign , the prices were shot down 7 times as well.
In the on-going fight between the 2 parties , the common man is suffering the most. Basically, none of these parties were in favour of the public and even though both of them have some valid points , the price rise in petroleum products and the general commodities is not at all justified. It's about time that they start thinking about the common public first and stop playing the blame game on each other and finally come out with some good output. Hoping and praying the situation changes for the better.