His effort will not only educate and sensitise more and more people, it will also reduce the supposed gap between a commoner and their representative who become VVIPs after being elected.
Finally we have someone amongst us who practiced what he preached.
Just a few weeks ago, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily had come up with measures to save fuel. Although he faced ire of the opposition and public, this time he has done what he laid down as a measure to conserve fuel.
Moily took the metro to work on Wednesday as part of his ministry’s drive to promote fuel conservation and reduce India’s massive oil import bill.
The minister walked from his residence at Tughlaq Lane to the Race Course Metro Station, from where he took the yellow line to Central Secretariat station, which exits almost at the doorsteps of the oil ministry housed in Shastri Bhawan.
However, the trip took a long 25 minutes rather than the usual 15 minutes due to heavy media presence.
Moily has announced every Wednesday as Bus Day. Explaining the reason behind the announcement, Moily said, “We spent almost $145 billion on importing oil last fiscal.
While we are endeavouring to increase domestic production, simultaneously we should conserve fuel to reduce this import bill, which is the single-biggest reason for some of the current economic woes like current account deficit.”
“Every Wednesday, I will use public transport. I have asked my official car to be lodged in the garage. I also ask my public sector companies to use public transport at least once a week,” Moily told media persons just before boarding the metro around 9.45 a.m.
While Joint Secretaries Neeraj Mittal and Aramane Giridhar rode bicycles for 8 km to office. His PS Sanjeev Kumar took a separate metro to office. The rest of the 200-odd staff in the ministry used public transport. PSU employees either used car pools or took public transport to office.
“The ministry staff alone would have saved some 600 litres of petrol or diesel today. I am taking the metro to office now and will use the same to go back for lunch and return. I will take the metro again back home,” Moily said.
Just like a normal commuter, Moily entered the metro station using a pre-paid card and boarded the train on its arrival. A commuter offered the 73-year old minister the senior seat but he politely refused.
The only difference was the CISF ring around him for his security.
“I want to travel like a commoner,” he said, holding on to the overhead handle for support. Two stops later, Moily alighted and walked to his office.
Moily has also requested other ministers to declare a day from the week as Bus Day in their ministry. Though, he said, he has issued a circular to his ministry and the oil PSUs, the move is totally voluntary.
“My aim is not to enforce it or compel others to follow me. I want people to realise on their own that fuel conservation is a must to save the country and its economy,” he added.
India had a record current account deficit (CAD) in 2012-13 as a result of mounting imports, including crude oil.
Moily is hoping measures such as Bus Day and a Rs 52 crore nationwide six-week mega campaign to propagate conservation of oil and gas will help taper demand and cut the oil import bill.
India, which imports about 80 per cent of its crude oil requirements, spent USD 144.29 billion last fiscal on oil purchases from overseas, the single biggest item impacting the CAD, which is the difference between inflows and outgo of foreign exchange.
Moily has suggested to the Department of Personnel that it introduce staggered office timings for government employees to ease peak-hour traffic and has asked the Urban Development Minister to introduce a free cycle scheme in select cities to help save fuel.
Moily’s move has already become popular among the civil society members and youth who want a sustainable growth for the country. His effort will not only educate and sensitise more and more people, it will also reduce the supposed gap between a commoner and their representative who become VVIPs after being elected.
Let’s hope Moily’s walk delivers desired result.