Bharat bandh not a solution: government

July 4th, 2010 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) With the opposition gearing up to enforce a nationwide shutdown Monday against rising prices and the fuel price hike, the government Sunday justified the increase in fuel costs and said a strike was “not a solution”.
In newspapers advertisements, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas said the “Bharat bandh in not a solution”.

It said the government will have to “bear a financial burden of Rs.53,000 crore” even after the price increase, and added that 80 percent of the country’s crude oil requirements was met through imports.

“The volatility in international oil prices is bound to affect domestic prices,” the advertisement read.

The government said the price of a cooking gas cylinder “required an increase of Rs.261″ to match with the international price hike.

But it “actually has been increased by Rs.35 only, which means that there is an increase of less than one rupee per day per family”.

It said that among the oil importing countries, India’s cooking gas and kerosene prices “are the lowest”.

A gas cylinder costs Rs.577 in Pakistan, Rs.537 in Bangladesh. Rs.822 in Sri Lanka, Rs.782 in Nepal as compared to Rs.345 in India.

Likewise, one litre of kerosene costs Rs.35.97 in Pakisan, Rs.29 in Bangladesh. Rs.21 in Sri Lanka, Rs.39 in Nepal as compared to Rs.12.32 in India.

It also said even when the international crude prices crossed $140 per barrel, “we maintained the supply of petroleum products at affordable rates”.

“Small price paid today, will reap big benefits tomorrow,” the advertisement said in bold letters.

The advertisement comes as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance and the Left parties have called separate strikes Monday seeking a rollback in fuel prices.

But the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has made it clear it will not reverse its decision.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also said he had only read the views of the opposition parties, but as far as he was concerned the people would appreciate the government’s compulsions to undertake this measure.

“Our people are wise enough to understand that excessive populism should not be allowed to derail the progress our country is making, and for which it is winning kudos internationally as well,” the prime minister had told reporters earlier this week.

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