Railway minister leads Trinamool rally against petrol hike

May 24th, 2012 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) Political parties in West Bengal Thursday hit the streets to protest the steep hike in petrol prices, with the ruling UPA partner Trinamool Congress taking out a large procession led by Railway Minister Mukul Roy to demand a rollback.

Roy, the only cabinet minister from the Trinamool in the United Progressive Alliance government, was at the forefront of the protest rally which traversed about five km from Hazra Crossing in south Kolkata to the Gandhi Statue on Mayo Road in central Kolkata.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions - the labour arm of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) - called for demonstrations in Kolkata and outside the offices of the district magistrates in the districts.

Describing the sharp petrol hike as an affront to the working class, CITU state president Shaymal Chakraborty said: “It will burden those who ride motor-cycles”.

Railing against the central government for announcing the hike a day after the budget session of parliament came to an end, he said: “The intention was to avoid parliament. This will create doubts in the people’s mind about the parliamentary system”.

He urged the central and state governments to remove or reduce taxes on petrol products.

Attacking Trinamool supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has said her party would protest but not pull out of the government, Chakraborty said: “She wants to have the best of both worlds. She is taking people for a ride”.

Warning the central government, he said if diesel prices now are also increased, then the entire public transport network would be brought to a grinding halt.

The CPI-M’s youth wing, the Democratic Youth Federation of India, has announced a “chakka jam” (stop wheels)programme from 5 p.m. to 5.15 p.m. Saturday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party workers put up road blocks in the busy Dharamtala area and at the Howrah Bridge.

State-controlled refiners hiked petrol prices by a steep Rs.6.28 per litre, exclusive of taxes, effective from midnight Wednesday. The hike will be between Rs.7.54 and Rs.7.98 in the four metros and would vary in other cities depending on the state levies.

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