Dear Mr Veerappa Moily,
It appears that your government’s main solution to all the country’s problems is to impose restrictions on its citizens. When the leaders are inefficient, make it illegal to say so (or caricature so). When there is a very real danger of your regime toppling, throw food at people. When too much fuel is being consumed, make it impossible to consume it (at certain periods of time).
You said, strangely enough, that the idea to shut petrol bunks at 8:00 pm had come from citizens. Since your government suddenly cares what the country thinks, I thought I’d send across some ideas for you. Because, you see, I’ve been stuck with a friend in the middle of nowhere at 11:00 pm with hardly any fuel, because someone had stolen it from her car, and we were lucky to find a petrol bunk before we ran out.
If you were to implement this wonderful idea of shutting bunks at 8:00 pm, which you claim came from us, we would be susceptible to rape, among other things. And we all know the only thing that is ever done about rape is social network activism. After all this, a juvenile can walk after three years, and a serial rapist can scale a wall to freedom.
So, as long as you’re listening to us, here are some ways to save fuel that won’t put anyone in danger.
Don’t send politicians to international meets
You have video-conferencing facilities, no? Why put our Prime Ministers, Presidents and various levels of Secretaries through all that travel, then? They’re anyway getting old, and jet lag can’t be pleasant. Of course, this might get in the way of your precious photo-ops – you know, that shot of two leaders shaking hands after yet another failed round of talks? But all you need is someone who knows the basics of Photoshop, and that can all be taken care of.
When leaders have to travel, look for cheaper options
If the leaders of this country miss their trips to exotic places, they could be sent by ship. I’m sure the number of days they will lose in the process will be less than the number of days they choose to absent themselves from the Houses of Parliament in any case.
Within the country, you could all go by trains instead of flights. Now, that is a real austerity drive. Maybe that way, you will see that the only reason the Railways showed a profit despite lowered ticket prices and whatnot is that the bed linen they give you hasn’t been washed, leave alone changed, for at least a thousand life cycles of every insect that inhabits them.
Replace your damned Ambassadors
Do you know why everybody else has bought other cars? Ambassadors guzzle fuel. Why don’t you all use the Reva instead? You could get them painted white and put those beacons on top, if you must. And, on the rare occasion that you all actually make it to work, you don’t travel much, seeing as you live in the choicest streets of Delhi. Why not just go with an electric car, eh?
Stop multiple helicopter surveys of disaster zones
Why do you all need to take turns? First, the Chief Minister goes. Then, the Prime Minister goes. Then, if it’s a seriously big disaster, the President goes. And then the Opposition goes to prove a point. This also means a prime escort needs to be made available for each of them. And then you send journalists along, to prove that you really are doing something about people who are stuck in inaccessible places. The amount you spend on fuel alone would be close to what you set aside for relief. Why don’t you all just send up one journalist, and the rescue workers, and watch the images from your offices?
Stop sending Madam to the US
Technically, all politicians should be going to government hospitals. But, of course, they’re not good enough for you, because you don’t have the funds to sweep them clean of rats, leave alone infection. Even so, isn’t there a single hospital in this country that is capable of conducting a medical check-up for Madam? Since her inner voice doesn’t seem to be stopping her trans-Atlantic journeys, maybe you should.
Get bikes for the Black Cats
Bikes are faster, more fuel-efficient and generally cooler to look at also. Every time one of you decides to grace our cities with a visit, we’re made to wait at arterial roads while your cavalcade passes through. This would be over a lot quicker, cause less noise pollution (unless you’re going to install sirens in the bikes too), and we’d all hate your lot a little less. Just sayin’.
I’m sure you will consider all these options with the unerring logic and foresight that has led you to consider the idea of closing petrol bunks early. And I’m sure you’ll see that each of them makes more sense – perhaps more than anyone in your party will like.
Thank you for your time, and for considering the ideas of a citizen of this country.