Orissa chief minister slams fuel hike

June 12th, 2008 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, June 12 (IANS) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Thursday lashed out against the central government for the fuel price hike, saying it would affect the people of his state. “The fuel price hike will affect common people in Orissa. It is an anti-people act of the central government,” Patnaik told thousands of his party activists gathered here to protest the hike in prices of diesel, petrol and cooking gas. He also said the central government was neglecting his state.

Thousands of activists of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) arrived from across the state in buses and trains. They shouted slogans against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) central government and took out processions before assembling near the PMG square in the centre of the city.

“We will take the protest to every village in the state,” BJD general secretary Damodar Rout said. The rally marked the conclusion of a five-day protest the party had launched Sunday.

“This is not the end. Our fight against the Congress-led central government will continue,” he said.

“Orissa is going to be affected more because 87 percent of its total population has a per day spending capacity of only Rs.12 each and they cannot bear this hike,” Rout told IANS.

The central government on June 4 hiked the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs.5 and Rs.3 a litre respectively and of cooking gas by Rs.50 per cylinder.

To soften the hike, the Orissa government reduced value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by two percent on June 6.

Petrol is now available in the state at Rs.50.82 a litre and diesel Rs.37.25 a litre. Private bus owners have threatened agitation if the state government does not hike bus fares.

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