Transporters, farmers to protest failure to cut fuel prices

January 28th, 2009 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 28 (IANS) Transporters’ and farmer’s unions will protest in front of parliament in New Delhi next month against the failure of the government to reduce petrol and diesel prices. The All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) and a farmers’ delegation led by Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) said here Wednesday that they would hold a protest march in front of the parliament Feb 18.

They also demanded that the government issue a white paper on petroleum products’ pricing.

“We want the government of India to issue a white paper on petroleum products. Despite a one-third decrease in the international prices of petroleum our government has not done the needful,” Charan Singh Lohara, president of AIMTC, said while addressing reporters here.

“To show our resentment and to press our demands with the government we will hold a protest march in front of parliament Feb 18. It seems that after the farmers of the country, now it is the turn of truck drivers and mini-bus owners and their operators to commit suicide,” said Lohara.

Said Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the Punjab unit of BKU: “The transport industry and the agriculture sector are two major industries that provide direct and indirect employment to millions in our country. Yet both the industries have suffered step-motherly treatment from the government.”

He added: “On an average, farmers in Punjab witness 10-15 hour electricity cuts every day, so they have no choice but to rely on diesel generators. This increases the overhead expenses and results in increased debts.”

Farmers’ associations from across the country will participate in the protest against soaring fuel prices in February in New Delhi, Lakhowal said.

“We don’t want any big subsidies but there should be some logical parameters for everyone. It is very disappointing that big corporates and airline companies are enjoying special benefits from the government,” he said.

Lakhowal pointed out that while the price of aviation turbine fuel has been reduced eight times in the past few months from Rs.72 per litre to Rs.29, there is no such decline in petrol and diesel prices.

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