The rising prices of fuel in India have become unstoppable. While the price of petrol has already crossed the Rs 100 mark in many states, the “affordable” diesel fuel price has also started to cross the digit mark. Energy Minister, Madhya Pradesh, Pradhuman Singh Tomar offered a solution to the rising prices of fuel.
The minister from the ruling party BJP was addressing the problem of rising fuel prices. According to Pradhuman Singh, people should start riding bicycles to vegetable markets. That will keep them healthy and will reduce pollution.
Pradhuman Singh also justified the price hikes and said that the money collected from the taxes of fuel is used for the welfare of the poor. According to ANI, this is what Singh said,
“… Do we ride a bicycle to a vegetable market? It will keep us healthy and keep pollution away… Prices are high but the money coming through this is being utilised for the poor man. Are petrol and diesel more important to us or the health services of the country?”
Even though the central government deregulated the fuel prices a few years ago and currently the oil companies decide the price, such comments from the ministers are not uncommon. This is not the first time that a minister gave such a solution to the rising fuel prices.
Not the first incident
Earlier this year in February, BJP leader and Bihar minister Narayan prasad said that common people will not get affected by the rising fuel prices as they only use public transport. He also added that the rising fuel prices are affecting him too and people should just get used to it.
Only a few days ago, Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister said, “I accept that current fuel prices are problematic for people but be it central/state government, over ₹35,000 crores have been being spent on vaccines in a year. In such dire times, we’re saving money to spend on welfare schemes,”
Government working to reduce fuel import
India imports more than 80% of its fuel needs from the international markets. As per the central government, it is India’s dependency on fuel imports that has increased the prices in recent times. Dharmendra Pradhan claims that with rising prices of crude oil in the international markets, the prices are bound to increase in India too.
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways – Nitin Gadkari said that the government is working on a possibility to make flex-fuel engines mandatory in India. The flex-fuel engine can use more than one fuel type and even a mixture of various fuel types.
The Indian government is also increasing the amount of ethanol present in the retail fuel to reduce the dependency on oil imports. The union minister also announced an extension for the deadline to increase the amount of ethanol in fuel. Earlier the government mandated that petrol engines should be able to use fuel with 10 per cent ethanol by April 2022 and 20 per cent ethanol by 2025. The 20 per cent deadline was previously set for 2030.