Fuel price hike a cruel blow on the people: Left

June 25th, 2010 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) Strongly opposing the government’s decision to “inflict a steep rise” in the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas, the Left parties Friday termed it “a cruel blow” on the people, already suffering from the increase in prices of food and essential commodities.
“The government is giving false arguments to justify these measures,” said four Left parties - the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) - in a joint statement here.

Demanding the immediate scrapping of the price increase, the Left parties also called upon all their units across the country to jointly launch protests against the hikes.

“By increasing the prices of diesel and kerosene, the farmers and the poorer sections are going to be badly hit. The LPG (liquified petroleum gas) increase will further burden the middle classes. The Congress-led government has shown its callous and anti-people character by these measures,” the statement said.

Noting that the prices of petrol and diesel were increased by Rs.3 per litre only three months ago in the union budget, it said: “International oil prices have not risen substantially in this period. Neither is the government prepared to rationalise the taxation structure on petroleum products which is adding to the price of petrol and diesel in a large measure.”

“This callous decision of the government has come at a time when food inflation is around 17 percent and the general inflation rate has reached double digits. India has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of consumer price inflation in the world,” said the statement signed by CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI chief A.B. Bardhan, Forward Bloc’s Debabrata Biswas and Revolutionary Socialist Party’s (RSP) T.J. Chandrachoodan.

The Left parties also termed it a “myth” that such a step is being taken to protect the public sector companies from under-recoveries

“The so-called under-recoveries are entirely based on notional prices calculated without any reference to the actual cost of production. In fact, the deregulation is only to help private companies which withdrew from the market because of the government price controls. Now they will be free to enter the market to make profits,” the statement said.

“By deregulating petrol prices, the government has opened the way for continuous increases in the prices of petrol,” it added.

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