Reading a set of articles from one point of view, we arrive at a conclusion. Take the sensational case that has been ruling the airwaves for the last few days – the murder of the Addl Collector of Malegaon, Yashwant Sonwane, burnt to death by the ‘Oil Mafia’. If we were to read only the reporting on the main event, the facts are that the system is under seige because of the money and the payouts involved – over $2 billion per year. Then, details emerge about how the system is subverted for personal gain – by several stake holders in the system, including Sonwane’s personal staff. Now, another angle has emerged – that Sonwane was killed because he wanted a bigger bribe
I wonder if any of the media channels would be as interested in the siphoning off, if it weren’t linked to the story. Since it generated money for all involved, the black marketers, the bureaucracy, the police and the politicians, little was done to stop it. Like a festering sore, it broke only when it was lanced by the murder. The oil companies who bore the brunt of the losses of the products could do little apart from fixing GPS monitoring and sophisticated locks – like closing the front door while the building was being mowed down by bulldozers
An analysis of the problem shows how it was generated and sustained. When the story broke, the oil mafia were directly culpable. As it developed, all those involved were painted in shades of grey. Without a system of subsidies, there was no way this market could have developed. The difference in prices between kerosene and petrol ensured exponential expansion and profits as the price of petroleum products went through the roof. What started as a measure to help the poor grew tangentially into a situation that exploits them ruthlessly.