Kerala shuts down to protest fuel price hikes

June 5th, 2008 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Thiruvananthapuram, June 5 (IANS) Educational institutions in Kerala were closed and public transport was hit by Thursday’s state-wide shutdown called by the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest the hike in fuel prices. “We had no option but to protest in this manner because several of our suggestions were being continuously ignored by the Manmohan Singh government,” said Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha MP Paniyan Ravindran.

Although government offices were functioning, all educational institutions remained closed. Private and state owned buses remained off the roads, making life difficult for commuters.

University examinations, which were to be held Thursday, were postponed. However, the Kerala State Public Service Commission decided not to postpone scheduled interviews.

“This hike in fuel prices is going to hit Keralites most because we are a consumer state and practically everything has to come from outside the state. Already the price of essential items is sky high and this fuel price hike will make things harder for us,” said Sajitha, a homemaker.

According to official figures, on an average the 1,550 fuel stations in the state sell around 4.2 million litres of diesel and 1.4 million litres of petrol every day. About 100,000 domestic cooking gas cylinders are supplied daily.

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