November 25, 2005

Am shocked at IOC's attitude!

"Shocked over the brutal murder of its area sales officer S Manjunath in Lakhimpur Kheri last week, the Indian Oil Corporation has decided to provide security to its field staff facing life threats."

"The IOC has agreed to provide security to the field staff as also their residences following the brutal murder of its area sales officer which has exposed the amount of risk faced by the IOC staff with the involvment of mafia in the trade," Vice President, Indian Oil Officers Association, Subodh Dakwale said".

This report in the wire news today caught my eye. What is the IOC trying to say? Did Manjunath receive death threats from the mafia? Was IOC aware of this and did not report about the threats to the police. Could his death have been prevented? Does this also mean that besides Manjunath, many more honest IOC officers are at the mercy of the petrol pump mafia ?

"The murder has also forced the corporation to consider changing its inspection system and modifying it to plug the loopholes which expose the staff to unnecessary risks".

Why is the IOC turning Manjunath's murder into a security issue? Is the IOC suggesting that the only way the mafia can be stopped from attacking its employees is by giving them security ? What if the mafia bribe the security men which does happen often. Too many questions I guess with even fewer answers.

Security can only be a temporary solution to the immediate problem of death threats to its field staff. Why doesnt IOC try to bring in more transparency in the issue of licenses ? Wouldnt that stop the mafia and the thugs with political links from running petrol pump that supply adulterated petrol ?

That way, even if the field staff revoke the license of a petrol pump, the officer can do so without any fear of death threats. Of course all this is easier said than done. Corruption in the allotment of license of petrol pump has already been highlighted many times by the media. Government for its part has made a few noises about an enquiry into the issue. But I doubt if the people in the government who benefit from the current system of allotment of license will try to bring in transparency.

One solution that has often been bogged down is privatisation of the Oil PSU's or a private-public partnership. Privatisation will bring in some if not complete transparency in the system. Why not have an other round of debate on privatisation?


Blogger Imran said...

That is somewhat logical solution but corruption will always be there.

4:47 AM PST  

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