Chennai: Defending the increase of milk prices and bus fares as a 'painful' decision taken by her government, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday slammed opposition parties, including her erstwhile allies, for criticising it out of 'political reasons.'
  
Jayalalithaa also came down on her archrival and DMK Chief M Karunanidhi for flaying the state Cabinet decision, saying he was "shedding crocodile tears" and people were aware of it.
 
Various political parties including DMK, actor-politican Vijaykant's DMDK and Left parties have criticised the steep increase in the prices of milk sold by state-owned Aavin and bus fare announced by Jayalalithaa.
  
In a statement here, she said her Cabinet on November 17 took 'the painful decision' to increase the prices to save the PSUs -- Aavin and state transport corporations, left in 'bad
health' by the previous DMK Government.
  
"We were forced to hike prices as we had no other choice. People should realise this and not give into the statements (by opposition leaders)," she said requesting their cooperation.
  
Jayalalithaa dismissed as a 'bag of lies' Karunanidhi's statement that despite officials' request, he had not allowed hiking the prices of milk and bus fares. "He is only pretending to speak for the people. They are aware of his crocodile tears," she added.
  
Taking a dig at DMDK and the Left parties, which had contested the April assembly polls in alliance with AIADMK but parted ways ahead of last month's civic polls, Jayalalithaa accused their leaders of adopting 'double standards' saying they had earlier expressed concern over the state of the PSUs.
  
Prior to the assembly polls, these parties had conveyed to her their concern over DMK's administrative 'mismanagement' and other issues affecting people."They had said only I can fix these issues by virtue of bold, tough measures," she said.
  
"Let their conscience decide if it is right for them to issue statements condemning the hike now," she said.
  
"Opposition party leaders are aware of the status of TNEB, state transport corporations and Aavin They should think over if it is right to criticise the hike now for political reasons," Jayalalithaa said.
  
Defending the milk price hike, she said Aavin was facing mounting losses and was able to procure only 22 lakh litres out of the 150 lakh litres produced in the state daily.
  
It was not even able to pay for its procurement and her government had so far disbursed Rs 100 crore for this purpose.
  
"If the present price hike was not effected, Aavin would soon face closure which will only benefit the private players and affect people, especially the poor people and salaried class," she said.

On the transport front, she said growing diesel prices, for which she held the Centre responsible, and increasing cost of spares besides burgeoning salary bill of staff had resulted in a Rs 6,150 crore loss for transport corporations, pushing them to the brink of bankruptcy.
    
Her government was providing an assistance of Rs 60 crore to them every month and there was no option other than increasing the fares, she said.

(Agencies)