On the upswing of ball freezing temperature, this November month is crazy in many ways. In the eve of Birth Anniversary of Fourth Druk Gyalpo, government has announced a huge reduction of the price of petrol and diesel. The prerogative was clear to commemorate the Birth Anniversary of His Majesty. But, I feel this is honestly not the right way to celebrate King's birthday.
How a government can float the price of any commodities that is below the actual imported price?
According to some media outlet, India revise the prices of petrol and diesel on daily basis. Daily rise and fall of the petroleum prices is mainly due to shift in currency exchange rate and this in turn helps public in maintaining actual profit in the other commodities. Perhaps, it save and control people's money outflow. It keep everyone fit on the supply and demand of commodities. It also keep laws and order in place. After all money matters more than anything. Several study have shown that such system in place have benefited larger public. Since, the prices of other commodity depends directly upon the petroleum prices. But, not in BHUTAN.
In Bhutan even if the dollar exchange rate falls down, the price of commodities remains the same. I find this rather a chance for our greedy shopkeepers to give new price of their shop items in the name of petroleum product price shooting up every second. I can't remember our shopkeeper selling the commodities at a lower rate so far. When was the last time our government have announced that the prices of rice and oil have gone done by 5%? Or is it that our shopkeeper are too stingy and unkind? Or are they above the national law? Actually we have very best principles and laws in place. Failing in monitoring could be the only reason for all this unnecessary hoard of price escalation. If monitoring would have happened intensely and humanly we would have enjoyed the better fall in price of other commodities by this time. This is a serious matter to bring out for discussion with our Government and concern agency now.
I do a usual week shopping from one particular shop. I started this customary merchandise long time back in 2013. I became quite close with them over the years. I even loan some cash and credit some salt when I run out of my bank balance. But, every time I make a visit to buy some essential goods they remind me of the fuel prices getting higher overnight and they sometime they levy me extra charges indirectly without my notice. I know their clear motives but I never say it. I don't want to embarrass them. I don't have any option than to visit again and shop some goods for succeeding week. I have been a constant victim of petroleum price being rise by inch and commodity prices by double fold. Is this fair? Where are our policy makers, market monitoring officers and other concern agency?
But, looking at yesterday's crazy news on the massive reduction of petrol and diesel prices, I am thoroughly relieved for now. However, it equally worries me for its sustainability. For me the latest fuel prices is admirable, who not only had to survive their family with the honest salary but also to fuel the vehicle with sky rocketing fuel price in the past. Thank God! I am safe for now.
It is double good for people like me. Since, almost Nu. 10.00 per litre can be used for other purposes and who knows sometime the same amount can also go for long term savings. I simple tense, it can generate better profit to my self, family and country at large. If such can also happens for other necessary commodities, our people around can enjoy bountiful cash and luxury like any other rich people.
But, this massive reduction of the petrol and diesel prices have given me a very narrow thinking of a big political game being played by both Bhutan Government and Government of India. This should have happened rather in other ways, like Government should have done it inch-by-inch and not at a go. Such reduction must have happened on other very needful and essential life surviving elements like Rice and Oil. Since, almost 90% of our people depends upon imported polished rice and refined oil from neighboring country. If such is the concern, why this has not happened five years before.
However, it is completely shameful to celebrate Birthday of His Majesty like this. Our Monarch is not a commodity. Whatever maybe the game or cause King's birthday cannot be played with commodity price. The government should have done it with something related to environment if they really wanted to celebrate King's birthday and ease the burden to public or onto something more prominent than the price of a commodity. So, in this way our policy makers are not looking for long term goals and aspiration. Moreover, government is not being mercy on people with this particular move. It will only going to benefit people with many cars and the construction company and not the ordinary people.
However, I feel this time the choice to mark 62nd Birth Anniversary of Great Fourth was completely outlandish, shabby, unforgivable and shameful.