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Moily set to lead from front in oil fire fighting.

PETROLEUM minister M. Veerappa Moily will take public transport to travel from his official residence to his office at Shastri Bhavan every Wednesday as part of the strategy to cut the oil import bill by $ 5 billion.

Moily said on Friday that all officials in his ministry as well as executives of the 14 public sector oil companies will also be asked to commute by public transport every Wednesday. " I have asked chief ministers, Central ministries and PSU heads to declare one day of the week as ' bus day' during which staffers should be encouraged to use public transport to commute," Moily said. " As part of this, I will either take a metro or a bus to work every Wednesday starting from October 9," he added.

However, at the same time Moily maintained, " It's a voluntary act. I cannot punish anyone for not taking public transport, but I want everyone from the highest- ranking officers to the lowest to take public transport every Wednesday." While there is no evidence of the oil ministry's fortnightly fuel conservation drive, Moily claimed that this year the campaign would save as much as $ 5 billion in the oil import bill. Every year, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association, under the petroleum ministry, conducts a drive for fuel conservation at a cost of ` 20 crore. While there is no estimate on how effective this programme has been, the fund allocation this year has been increased to ` 45 crore.

The mega conservation drive will be launched on October 1. Cricketer Virat Kohli and shuttler Saina Nehwal will be lead icons in the campaign.

Meanwhile, officials of public sector oil companies appear to be sceptical over the move.

" It is the high price of fuels that in a free economy help to curb demand. The middle and lower- middle class is already feeling the pinch. Such schemes are a publicity gimmick," said a senior official.

A circular is also being issued for asking officials of the oil ministry to take public transport every Wednesday

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 28, 2013
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