I read Sudha Menon’s story “Bids for highway ambulances to be called by mid-August”, Mint, 25 July. As national highways are accident-prone, well-equipped and tooled ambulances would prove very effective for rescuing persons trapped in a vehicle involved in a crash. For example, when the vehicle of the late Sahib Singh Verma had a head-on collision with a truck, it took time to retrieve the trapped persons, with fatal results. Very effective tools such as cutters, spreaders, combitool and ram are available for rescue operations. I would like to bring such equipment to the notice of MHA officials so that a set of such tools finds a place in special ambulances.
- P.S. Bhandari
It seems the Union petroleum minister is proposing oil bonds to mop up the huge daily losses faced by oil companies due to rise of international crude prices. In the absence of a developed bond market with depth, public sector banks and the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) will be forced to buy these bonds above “fair market value”, which will then be passed on to the consumers in the form of high price loans by banks and higher insurance premiums by LIC. The government, by not passing the high cost of petrol, diesel and LPG to consumers, is taking recourse to robbing Peter to pay Paul. The time has come when the ministry should ponder over who gains by subsidizing kerosene, petrol, LPG. Mixing of cheaper kerosene to petrol and diesel by distributors is well known and it is beyond understanding why, if a household is able to pay Rs300 for an LPG cylinder, it cannot pay Rs400 for the same?
By subsidizing petrol and LPG, the government is providing cheap fuel to big industrial houses and richer people who are using a huge quantity of petrol and LPG. After all, how much quantity of petrol, diesel and LPG is used by a common man every month as compared with a white-collar employee of a big corporate house?
- Ravi Kant
I look forward to reading Mint every day. The concept of an editorial on the front page is certainly enticing. However, “Let’s have the best,” Quick Edit, Mint, 25 July, was disappointing: Both facts and perspective appear to be flawed.
I am surprised at your comment that government agencies in charge of public projects have traditionally been forced to depend on local companies.
This statement, which appears to be the underbelly of your editorial, is false.
Public sector undertakings (PSUs) have traditionally undertaken international competitive bidding (ICB) by regulation.
In the procurement of equipment, Oil and Natural Gas Corp. issued the world’s largest services contract a few years ago on an ICB basis.
The airports in Delhi and Mumbai have been bid on an ICB basis.
Our highway projects are bid out on the same basis and there are several foreign players in the game.
On the selection of joint venture partners by PSUs, global giants are present in the oil sector. For example, Shell has a joint venture with BPCL.
Even in the case of the railways, the carriages on the Shatabdi Express have been imported from Germany and there are moves to indigenize them.
On the issue of the railways setting up new capacities, I recall reading recently how investment proposals were being questioned by the Planning Commission. Could this newspaper throw more light on this issue?
- Rajiv Khanna