CPI-M declines any talks on oil price hike

May 30th, 2008 - 9:13 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Sticking to its tough stand, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Friday said it would not back-track on its opposition to fuel prices hike and maintained that the government should rework taxes on petroleum products instead. “We will not have any talks on price rise. We are ready to discuss duty re-structuring,” CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters at the end of the party central committee’s two-day meeting here.

The communist leader also said the party has asked the Left-ruled states to “do something” on the duty cuts, indicating that the CPI-M-led governments in West Bengal and Kerala could reduce sales tax on petroleum products.

The CPI-M-led Left parties, which prop Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition, have vehemently opposed the government’s move to hike fuel prices in the wake of a steep increase in the international crude oil prices.

The communists have also asked the government to revamp the customs and excise duties on petroleum products.

Karat said the party central committee has expressed deep concern on the unabated inflation and the price rise of essential commodities, which have become “unbearable” for the common man.

Karat warned that there would be a mass agitation against the government if it went ahead and raised fuel prices.

“The Left parties along with other secular parties will oppose the move to hike fuel prices,” Karat said.

The CPI-M has suggested the government cut import duty from five to zero percent, reduce the excise duties on petrol and diesel, set up a price stabilization fund with oil cess contribution, tax the windfall profits made by the private oil companies and refineries and end the import parity pricing system.

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