Diesel price hike: Cong CM, allies seek rollback; protests across India
Posted on: 14 Sep 2012
NEW DELHI: The Centre's decision to hike the prices of diesel and put a cap on LPG subsidy has led to protests across the country.
Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy on Friday said the Centre should have avoided the hike in diesel prices and demanded at least a partial withdrawal of the increase.
Chandy, who belongs to the Congress and heads the UDF government, said here that, 'If it is difficult to completely roll back the increase, the Centre should at least reduce the hike.'
The LDF and BJP have given separate calls for dawn-to-dusk hartal on Saturday to protest the decision and demanded roll-back of the hike.
The LDF leaders said the hike amounted to a 'declaration of war on people.'
Associations of bus and truck operators demanded hike in fares, holding that they would not able to maintain their operations at the current rates in the wake of the diesel price hike.
We were not consulted: DMK
DMK, a key ally of UPA, has said it was not consulted by the Centre on the diesel price hike and insisted on its rollback.
'If they had consulted (us), there would have been no need for me to issue a statement yesterday condemning the price hike,' Karunanidhi told reporters here while replying to a question.
When asked about his party's stand in the backdrop of West Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress' opposition to the diesel price hike, Karunanidhi said, 'I don't know (how) to issue a threat'.
Referring to his demand for convening the UPA coordination committee and asked what would be his party's key demand, he said, 'To reduce diesel price.'
Mayawati demands immediate rollback
BSP chief Mayawati criticised the UPA government for increasing diesel price and restricting supply of subsidised cooking gas and demanded immediate roll back of the 'anti-people decision'.
'Reeling under the pressure of continued price hike of petrol, the common man has been further subjected to more hardships with this decision of unprecedented diesel price hike of Rs 5 per litre as well as quota of six LPG gas cylinders per family,' Mayawati said in a statement.
Blaming the 'wrong' economic and foreign policies of the Congress-led UPA government for throwing common man's life in chaos, she demanded that these policies be immediately rectified in keeping with people's interest.
Nitish flays Centre
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has flayed the Centre for hike in the price of diesel and restricting supply of cooking gas and said that the latter has inflicted a 'cruel joke' on the people who are reeling under the price rise and inflation.
The hike in diesel price will particularly put additional burden on the farmers and will have a cascading effect on the prices of the food grains due to increase in transportation, he said.
Inflation and price rise will further escalate due to the diesel price hike, Kumar said.
He also termed the Congress-led UPA government's decision in this regard as 'unfortunate'.
'It has been observed that whenever the Congress comes to power, it brings price rise with it,' he said.
Kumar demanded that the Centre should roll back the price hike of diesel and withdraw the proposal to restrict the annual supply of LPG cylinders to six per family.
Government committing fraud, CPI-M says
The CPI-M has accused the government of committing a 'gigantic fraud' by hiking fuel prices at a time when Indian oil companies were making huge profits.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist condemned the 'unprecedented' hike in the price of diesel and the limiting of six cooking gas cylinders per family per year.
'The hike in diesel price will have a cascading inflationary impact imposing greater burdens on the already suffering people,' it said in a statement.
'Agricultural sector and farmers will particularly suffer. The limiting of cooking gas cylinders will adversely impact on the livelihood condition of crores of families across the country.'
It said the government's reasoning that such hikes were inevitable because of the 'burgeoning losses' of oil companies 'is a patent falsehood'.
The statement said that oil and natural gas giant ONGC declared a net profit of Rs.25,123 crore for 2011-12. For the next quarter ending June 30, it had reported a further growth in profit of 48.4 per cent.
The IOC reported a net profit of Rs.4,265.27 crore for 2011-12. The Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) reported a net profit of Rs 911 crore.
'Interestingly, for the last quarter of fiscal January-March 2012, its net profit increased by 312 per cent. The Bharat Petroleum has reported a net profit of Rs 1,546.68 crore.
'The UPA government is thus committing a gigantic fraud on the Indian people,' it said.
The CPI-M called upon all secular opposition forces to unite to roll back 'this unreasonable hike in the prices of diesel and limiting of cooking gas cylinders'.
SAD threatens agitation
Criticising the Congress-led UPA government for increasing diesel and LPG gas prices, SAD has demanded immediate rollback of the decision and warned if it is not done the party would launch an agitation.
'The hike in diesel price would have a cascading effect on prices of essential commodities which were already beyond the reach of the common people. This hike would adversely effect the transport sector as well as already suffering debt ridden peasantry,' a Shiromani Akali Dal spokesman said.
'It is surprising that when international prices of crude oil decrease, the benefits are never passed on to the consumers but whenever there is even a marginal increase in price of crude oil, the common man is burdened without any delay,' he said.