Petrolpreneurship in Manipur: A Lousy Business Option

Petrolpreneurship is currently chosen as a profitable business option by many individuals since it is the easiest one to start sans any management skill or experience. As a result of the rising tribe of petrolpreneurs in Manipur, the price of petrol is inflated every now and then, while the purse of common people is deflated. A ridiculous business option, Manipur Masala shares some serious concerns about petrolpreneurship: the business of ‘Kok chaaklaba and karaam chaoba lots of gari thao’.

Manipur is a haven for black marketers and that is our open secret. The nature of ‘black marketing’ keeps changing from time to time. Out of the many options, cooking gas and petrol are two easy targets for the black marketers to churn maximum revenue out of a minimum investment. Nobody can ignore the gas or petrol because we live in a modern society. So, one has acquaintances at the petrol pumps, why not share the profit with them and start a thao yonbagi dukan? So is the case of cooking gas. Sounds funny but this is exactly how things are going on in our state.

My area of interest is not in conducting a thorough research in black marketing in Manipur. Statistics lies, formal studies are a source of ridicule in Manipur, though it is no wonder considering again, the great Manipuri mentality. However, it concerns my sanity when some basic needs of the common people such as cooking gas and petrol are relegated to black marketing every now and then with the authorities turning a ‘mitaang’ eye; though I might be biased as the Indian Oil Corporation is also a major stakeholder in this great Indian state.

Greed and lunacy have inspired the black marketers to such an extent that they leave no stone unturned to rob us every now and then. The present petrol shortage is a clear-cut example of how we are robbed in broad daylight. When have we ever got relief from fuel crisis in Manipur? Why petrolpreneurship is not yet questioned? Why black marketers are openly fed right from our pockets? Who are these black marketers? And why isn’t our media reporting anything about who are the gory thugs controlling such markets here in Manipur? Also, why is our government so comfortably numb and dumb during many a situation like this? These are some questions we should start discussing about. Artificial drought, artificial shortage of fuel, artificial crimes- how many more artificial problems do we need to enlist? Oh, these are just trivial questions. Ta:Naobi says he is happy, he gets the best dishes for wife, he gets the best ‘asaaba’, he earns the maximum profit, whenever there is a blockade.

I empathize with many Khura-Taada and Eney-Indol selling petrol openly at their thongaal (though the most common venue of selling petrol is near, or to be precise, at the entrance of the petrol pump). Isn’t it ironic? Petrol pumps run out of petrol and then all of a sudden, there are so many temporary petrol yonfam dukan swarming up near the petrol pumps. Most of them seem to have collaborated with the petrolpreneurs but they do not seem to be the real culprits. They try to earn a humble livelihood by selling those bottles of petrol with a little profit. I don’t intend to trigger a crusade that would snatch away their means of livelihood. But at the same time, they should also keep in mind that they are caught in a wrong business and that they should think of an alternative means of livelihood before they turn themselves into ‘petrolpreneurs’. Or shortly, the mahajon they had got the petrol from, in the first place.

They say we should always have faith in ‘God’ in good and especially in bad times. Well, here’s my self composed prayer for thee oh ‘God’. ‘Our Father in Soraren holy be thy name, shrewd be thy justice. Sanctify thy children who are ‘kok chaaklaba and karaam jao’ or clear their ‘burdened presence’ from this blue planet of ours. I shall thence offer expensive incense sticks, exotic flowers and scented candles if ye listen to this humble prayer of mine. Amen!’

PS: In a land like Manipur, people never run short of prospective business avenues. So, it seems the day won’t be far when some lunatic business enthusiasts would also come up with airpreneurship; a sort of stocking up fresh air in a tank and selling it at an inflated rate to customers. As a part of ‘thou leitana thou thiba’ project, I have even thought about a few brand names for them with their taglines. ‘Nungsit Chaoba Air Suppliers—As pure as it can be’, ‘Nungsit Tombi Air Suppliers—Pure, Fresh and Affordable Air Just a Call Away’. I would love to visualize and even direct a few television commercials for this particular business. It would be an out-of-the-world experience for everybody. Hello investors, have you made up your mind to churn out the maximum revenue from such a lucrative business opportunity? Think about it.

This article was published on 3 May 2015
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