Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oil slick- A Report by Business Standard Magazine

There are some media groups out there who have correctly analysed the OIL Strike. It is only the TV Media which thrives on Sensationalism and "Masala" to sell their wares.
The article in BS dtd 13/1/09

"Govt's tough action and threats to arrest striking officers finally broke the oil officers' strike Business Standard / New Delhi January 13, 2009, 0:30 IST"

rightly points out a major reason for the sudden Dry Outs ---

"But while the government did the right thing in finally acting tough, it mishandled things in the run-up to the strike. For one, whenever there has been a call for a strike, and it is made weeks in advance (trade unions and officer associations need time to mobilise), petroleum dealers stock up on supplies. They did not do so this time because Petroleum Minister Murli Deora had held out the prospect of a price cut for petroleum prices. No petrol and diesel retailer in his right mind would stock up when prices are set to fall."

The article is a very balanced one and one of the few that treats both Private and Public Sector Oil companies equally. While we on this blog, including myself are bringing attention of the online reading public to the unholy nexus that may or may not existing between Private Oil Refiners and the Babus/ Govt it is also to be accepted that we do need everybody and after all it is also better for Private Oil Cos to survive. It helps the general public by way of choice and improves service quality because of competition.

And my dear friends from OIL sector PSUs it then also gives us a chance to leave PSUs and join them if we want to. I personally think the article is a very good one.

The whole article of the business standard magazine is here -- Please click to read the full article directly
A few excerpts below:

"While the immediate cause of the strike was that the salaries and wages notified for the oil sector were lower than those recommended by the Justice MJ Rao committee, the basic demand that wages be revised every five years instead of the current 10 years has been a very old one. A pay revision every five years is not an unreasonable demand to make, especially when private sector salaries rise almost every year, and the argument that government salaries are revised once every decade is no argument. The oil industry’s dynamics are quite different from those of the government. In any case, Ram Naik as petroleum minister in the NDA government, had conceded this demand. So while it is true that the oilmen didn’t wait for the one month that the government asked for while a group of ministers tried to find a solution, they were probably at the end of their tether since years have passed since the ministerial promise"

"The private sector players which exist have preferred to supply exclusively to the export market, or go through the state-owned retailers, because of the distortions in the domestic price and subsidy operation, which put private refiners at a disadvantage. If the government is keen to bring in more competition, as it should be, it must create a level playing field for private and state-owned players. This does not mean largesse for the private firms; all it means is that everyone gets the same treatment. "

But like I said and I will go on hammering till they wake up, it is the TV that has the maximum reach to general public today and it is they who should become more responsible towards the Nation by adopting responsible and factual reporting.

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