Now that the petrol pumps in India have gone dry and WE INDIANS, are at the mercy of the OIL OFFICERS of the three petroleum companies viz. INDIAN OIL, HINDUSTAN PETROLEUM & BHARAT PETROLEUM, it is time to see if the Nationalisation which took place in 1974 & 1976 have served the country well or has benefited and enriched the wrong persons.
Here below are the extracts of the ACTS passed by the Parliament of India, whereby BURMAH SHELL and ESSO were nationalised. The objective, as always is laudable, but in the Management and Implementation of these laudable objectives the RATS start their activities. The objective stated by both the Acts are, “…a view to ensuring coordinated distribution and utilisation of petroleum products distributed and marketed in India by the said company…”
THE BURMAH SHELL (ACQUISITION OF UNDERTAKINGS IN INDIA) ACT, 1976
ACT NO. 2 OF 1976
[24th January, 1976.]
An Act to provide for the acquisition and transfer of the right, title and interest of the Burmah Shell Oil Storage and Distributing Company of India Limited in relation to its undertakings in India with a view to ensuring coordinated distribution and utilisation of petroleum products distributed and marketed in India by the said company and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
8. Payment of amount. (1) For the transfer and vesting in the Central Government, under sections 3 and 4, of the right, title and interest of Burmah Shell in relation to its undertakings in India, and for the vesting in the Central Government, under section 5, of the rights specified therein, there shall be paid by the Central Government to Burmah Shell an amount of rupees twenty-seven crores and seventy-five lakhs in such instalments and in such manner as are specified in the Second Schedule.
The amount specified in section 8 shall be deemed to correspond to fifteen million two hundred and nine thousand seven hundred and seventy-two pounds sterling (hereafter in this Schedule referred to as the principal amount).
THE ESSO (ACQUISITION OF UNDERTAKINGS IN INDIA) ACT, 1974
ACT NO. 4 OF 1974
[13th March, 1974.] W
An Act to provide for the acquisition and transfer of the right, title and interest of Esso Eastern Inc. in relation to its undertakings in India with a view to ensuring co-ordinated distribution and utilisation of petroleum products distributed and marketed in India by Esso Eastern Inc. and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
8. Payment of amount. (1) For the transfer and vesting in the Central Government, under sections 3 and 4, of the right, title and interest of Esso in relation to its undertakings in India, and for the vesting in the Central Government, under section 5, of the rights specified therein, there shall be paid by the Central Government to Esso an amount of rupees two crores and fifty-nine lakhs in such instalments and in such manner as is specified in the Second Schedule.
The amount specified in section 8 shall be deemed to correspond to thirty lakhs, eighty-four thousand, six hundred and ninety dollars (hereafter in this Schedule referred to as the principal amount)
One can see from the legislations passed that the Nationalisation of these 2 petroleum companies cost the exchequer $ 1,52,09,775/- (= Rs. 76,04,88,750/- as on today’s rate at Rs. 50 per $) for Bharat Petroleum & it was Sterling Pound 30,84,690/- ( =Rs.22,20,97,680/- as on today’s rate at Rs.72 per Pound) for Hindustan Petroleum.
We made a good deal for ourselves as the schedule for payment stipulated a long drawn payment of installment and interest for that period at the rate of 8% in the case of Shell, and 6.5% in the case of ESSO.
All this was possible because the concept of MIXED ECONOMY with a terrible slant towards the socialistic ideals of the political class was holding fort in the early and mid seventies.
In INDIA there is a CLEAR DISTINCTION of the three arms viz. LEGISLATURE, JUDICIARY & EXECUTIVE, in the sense that each one understands the LETTER OF THE OTHER AND MISSES THE SPIRIT OF THE LETTER!
What has happened is that the letter is clear theoretically and conceptually, but in the IMPLEMENTATION the spirit is lost. When the matter reaches the court, the dispute is further obfuscated by getting into the OBJECTIVE OF THE ACT which again takes the colour of the WEIGHTAGE given by the Justice for any of the concepts of SOCIAL PURPOSE, LETTER OF THE ACT, MISCHIEF CORRECTION, ACT AS A WHOLE etc., etc..
The clear objective as stated in the two acts are
“ensuring coordinated distribution and utilisation of petroleum products”
Now we have a shortage because of the LACK OF CO-ORDINATION and consequently NO DISTRIBUTION and NON-UTILIZATION OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, because of the strike by the oil officers.
The problem is in the perception. The Government probably perceives that the OIL COMPANIES have been handed over the MONOPOLY to import, refine, sell and acquire lands under the Land Acquisition Act for public purpose and therefore even though they are a CORPORATION, the salaries have to be kept with a view on the spectrum of the Government salaries.
The OIL OFFICERS probably feel that they have no such benefits like Pension, or the POWER that comes out of the position that a government Officer of their rank enjoys and therefore ought to be treated as a corporate officer and should be entitled to all the benefits due to a corporate employee. But it is to be stated in all fairness that the OIL OFFICERS do enjoy all the perks available to a corporate Officer, like club membership, decent accommodation, traveling allowances and hotel accommodation that are commensurate with any big business.
YET THE OIL OFFICERS WANT A RAISE THAT WOULD TAKE THEM WELL BEYOND THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA OR THE CABINET SECRETARY!
Probably they have forgotten that their business was acquired thru the sovereign power of the legislature and handed over for NOT MAXIMIZATION OF PROFITS (as wud be the objective of pvt. businesses) BUT FURTHERANCE OF SOCIAL OBJECTIVES OF OPTIMIZATION OF EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION.
Let me also recall for the readers that 2 oil officers were shot dead in the past for having been honest and unyielding to the pump owners. Are we to assume that these 2 died because they were UNWISE or UN-CORRUPT? I shud say that they were UNWISELY UN-CORRUPT. The other Oil Officers who have survived the same pump owners, are they to be construed as PLIANT and ACCOMMODATING? And if so, have they done that without consideration? Therefore it cannot be said that there are no avenues for making the extra buck, but laws have to be made for the honest and therefore we cannot say that the oil officers have to live an impoverished life.
But as it stands today they have a lifestyle that is commensurate with those of their counterparts in non-governmental businesses and since they are adequately compensated for out of the GOVT. run businesses, they shud give up their revolt and join duty and serve the NATION.
TILL THE OIL OFFICERS RETURN TO WORK, LET US CYCLE TO WORK AND ENCOURAGE OUR KIDS TO WALK IT TO SCHOOL.
OIL IS SURELY FATTENING!
The sins of acquiring ESSO and SHELL (at throw away prices)are being visited upon the children of the previous generation.