The remote excess
Congress President Sonia Gandhi'sone-upmanship over the Prime Minister has crossed laughable limits. Abusing her position as the UPA Chairperson she is enjoying enormous powers without of course the accompanying accountability.
If the communists have a problem with a government decision, they wait patiently for ?Ma?m at 10, Janpath? for discussions. They drop their threatening postures after she assures them. If the Telengana people are angry, it'sma?m who has to find a solution. At the National Population Council meet, which took the extraordinary decision to go back on the two-child norm, it was Sonia Gandhi and not the Prime Minister who was the main speaker and focus of attention.
Only a couple of days ago, Sonia Gandhi made public details of a forthcoming bill on employment guarantee and her office briefed the media on how she had taken ?personal? interest and insisted on ?four major changes? to make the bill effective.
When Sonia Gandhi went to Russia a few weeks ago, the Indian government insisted on her getting the treatment of a head of state. That'show she was received by President for an one-to-one audience. She committed India on many things there, on whose authority, nobody knows, or has questioned. She even made an extremely ?personal-official? visit to see where her father was imprisoned during World War-II.
Whenever there is a mishap or natural calamity, she beats the Prime Minister in announcing the relief packages and also airing her highly biased comments. So it was ?bad arrangements? in Gujarat after floods, good work in Himachal Pradesh, silence on ONGC, more silence on the Mumbai monsoon tragedy. The list goes on. In Mumbai, the administrative machinery of the state had not been visible for almost 48 hours whereas in Gujarat, within 24 hours the administration had swung into action, without waiting for the Centre'sresponse.
Sonia Gandhi'simpatience and itch to prove one-up on Manmohan Singh is a display of political rawness. She cannot claim a position above the Prime Minister because ?she? made him one. Bamboo cannot become flute though the latter came from the former.
UPA as disaster
It is no exaggeration to suggest that disasters, both natural and man made, have washed away the pompous blitzkreig of Dr Manmohan Singh'sUS sojourn. The UPA regime is fast becoming synonimous with disaster.
Not a week passes without some major calamity hitting the nation. Rail disasters have become common place. So are terrorist attack, and infiltration from across the border. The bomb blast in the Shramjivi Express at Jaunpur is the eighth rail mishap under Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Even nature is keeping pace. Flood, tsunami, earthquake, the tragedy is endless with loss of lives and misery to the living. In all this, infrastructure gets heavily damaged further slackening the pace of economic growth.
Amidst all this, the fire in the oil rig on Bombay High, received less attention. This is the eighth instance of an un-controlled fire on major oil rigs. For ONGC'sBombay High this is the third.
There is something woefully wrong with the cash rich ONGC, which makes a hell of a lot of money because of its monopoly over oil. Both the Government in the form of tax and the Commission in the form of margin make money selling petrol and petroleum products at almost double its original cost.
Reports say that ONGC had a tough time in merely setting up an alternative control room to monitor the disaster management. Its Vasundhara office was flooded, there was hardly any back up at Nava, then Trombey then Uran before they finally found a place at Bengal Chemicals premises.
The cause of the fire given out is equally stunning. It was caused by a explosion in the ?riger? which stores crude oil, when a support vessel rammed into it. It happened at 4.30 pm in the day. There should have been no visibility problem. The loss is estimated at two million tonnes in crude output over several months. This is 7 per cent of our annual production. The disaster will jack up cost right across the board. There are reports that the company might seek relief from subsidy burden. The cost of the Bombay High repair is put at Rs. 1,800 crore. The only heroes in the calamity are the Coast Guard personnel. It was their tireless efforts that rescued the employees trapped in the ocean. Their efforts ensured that casualties were very low. It is clear that the ONGC and the UPA government will take this opportunity for another round of price hike burdening the common man further.