‘25% Of My Salary Is Going Into My Bike’s Fuel Tank’

Deepankar Jha, a 42-year-old social worker in Bihar, tells LokMarg it will only need one financial setback to push his family, and million others like him, into poverty pit

I am working with an NGO and my job requires me to be on the field for better part of the day. I use a motorcycle for better efficiency and save time. But the rising fuel prices have begun to pinch now. It’s been first week of the month and I have already spent around ₹2,000 on the fuel. I believe by the end of the month I will end up spending 25% of my salary on petrol alone.

I haven’t increased my travel distance at all. It is the continuously rising fuel prices which have burnt a hole in my pocket. The petrol price is going through the roof. Last month, it was around ₹107; today it stands at ₹118; and tomorrow, it seems it will be ₹125. I wonder where it will stop. Has the government decided the raise the bar continuously?

A few days ago, I met some of my friends, who also require to be in the field. They too had similar grouse. Some of them were losing around 40% of the salary on the fuel. The situation becomes tougher for those who must travel for work and their income is in the range of ₹10,000-15, 000. How will a person run his household when a large sum of salary goes down in petrol? This is totally unimaginable.

Diesel is also catching up with petrol. It has already crossed the ₹100 mark. Diesel prices have a direct bearing on the price of grocery items and vegetables. This double whammy has destabilized the entire household budget. The situation has come to a point that I have started cutting down on household items based on their price.

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Media reports said that India has started buying Russian oil at a discounted price. Yet, the fuel price is still rising. Recently, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman released a statement that India will continue buying cheap Russian oil in the nation’s interest. I am wondering why there is no impact of cheap Russian oil for the end consumer.

It seems that the government is filling its own pocket by importing cheap oil and not passing on the benefits to common people. When common people like us are still making hue and cry of fuel price hike, how such imports are serving nation’s interest, I wonder.

There is more. The price of LPG gas cylinder has also been on fire. With the rising inflation, the middle households have inched closer towards poverty. It only needs one blow of misfortune, like hospitalization or some other financial setback, and millions like us will be pushed towards poverty.

Currently, we are living a minimalistic life. It’s not out of choice; we are forced to do so. Job market is uncertain. The first and foremost thing the government can do is: check fuel prices which will bring down the cost of other products too. If the government doesn’t swiftly address this issue, the suffering of common people is further going to increase.

As Told To Md Tausif Alam

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