New Delhi: The UPA government is under sharp attack from all quarters over the recent hike in diesel prices by a steep Rs 5.62 per litre and restriction in the supply of subsidised cooking gas to six cylinders per household in a year.

 

DIESEL BOMB ON AAM ADMI
Move
  • Government hikes diesel price by Rs 5.62 per litre, w.e.f September 13 night
  • Each household will get 6 cylinders of 14.2-kg per annum at the subsidised rate of Rs 399 and any requirement beyond that would have to be procured at the market rate of Rs 746 per bottle 
  • Diesel price were last increased by Rs 3 per litre in June 2011

Impact

  • Bus unions across nation demand immediate fare hike.
  • Cement makers indicated that they will have to raise prices as it is not possible for them to absorb the increased freight charges on account of hike in diesel price.
  • On Thursday, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) said it has increased freight charges across the country by 15 percent following the hike in diesel prices.
  • Railways may also increase freight charges but no plans have been announced as of now.

 

 

AGAINST

BJP: Describing the hike in diesel prices as a cruel joke and "mortal blow" on the common man and farmers, BJP accused the government of conspiring with petrol 'mafia' and said it will not allow the hike and take to the streets instead.

CPI-M: Government is doing a gigantic fraud on people by hiking fuel prices at a time when Indian oil companies were making huge profits. "Burgeoning losses" of oil companies "is a patent falsehood", the party said.

Party Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat charged UPA ally TMC chief Mamata Banerjee of hypocrisy and double standard. She alleged Mamata of using the absence of its Minister Mukul Roy in the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs meeting, which took the decision, as a "tool of convenience" to avoid criticism.
    
"Trinamool is part of the government. It is equally responsible for this hike. They have to explain why Roy was absent from the meeting of the CCPA of which he is a member. They using it as a tool of convenience, she said.

CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat said his party will hold discussions with other parties on organising a stir to press for roll back.

Trinamool Congress: TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said that she was unhappy and astonished at the diesel price hike and the decision on LPG and demanded immediate rollback.
    
"If people do not mind, I will be most happy to withdraw support (to the UPA). If I withdraw support then other parties will provide support to them. And, then ask why we left the UPA which led to its collapse. People had misunderstood us when we had withdrawn support earlier.

AIADMK: Charging the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre with lacking economic ideas to tackle the fuel price hike, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa demanded immediate rollback of Rs five hike in diesel prices, besides the ceiling on supply of subsidised cylinders.

Samajwadi Party:
Terming hike in diesel price as an anti-people step by Congress-led UPA government, Samajwadi Party announced that it would hold a sit-in against the move across Uttar Pradesh.

JDU: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar termed government’s decision as a 'cruel joke' on the people who are reeling under the price rise and inflation.

DMK: Key UPA ally described the diesel price hike as 'very high' and unexpected and sought a roll back of the measure.

Party chief M Karunanidhi said the hike would further affect the poor and the salaried class who are already reeling under high prices of essential commodities.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who belong to the Congress and heads the UDF government in the state, said here that, "If it is difficult to completely roll back the increase, the Centre should at least reduce the hike."

Both the Congress-led UDF Government as well as CPI(M)-led LDF opposition combine in Kerala said the hike could lead to a further bout of price rise in the state which depends heavily on neighbours for its needs.

LDF and BJP have given separate calls for dawn-to-dusk hartal on Saturday to protest the decision and demanded roll-back of the hike.

MNS: MNS activists served black tea made on "chullha" (earthen stove) fire to protest the price hike in LPG cylinder and diesel effected by the government.
    
Shiv Sena: Shiv Sena spokesperson and MLC Neelam Gorhe condemned the hike saying life of common people was going to be difficult with restriction of six cylinders at controlled prices.
    
LDF: CPI (M) led Opposition Left Democratic Front in Kerala called for a state-wide hartal against the diesel price increase on September 15.

CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the decision to hike diesel price was meant to bring undue profit to private oil companies.

Shiromani Akali Dal:
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal criticised the Centre for the "unwarranted and steep" increase in price of diesel and demanded an immediate and complete withdrawal of this hike.

NCP: It demanded rollback saying the decision will further burden the common man.
    
BSP:  BSP chief Mayawati criticized the UPA government for increasing diesel price and restricting supply of subsidised cooking gas and demanded immediate roll back of the "anti-people decision".

She has demanded that Centre purchases gas and petroleum products wherever they are available at cheaper rates and ensure that they are easily available to people at reasonable prices.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik termed the hike in diesel price and restriction on LPG cylinders as a "breakdown" of the Centre's economic policies and demanded immediate rollback of the decision.    

RJD:
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who party supports the UPA, said that the government's decision was "unfortunate" and sought its reconsideration.

Central Trade Unions:  The Central trade unions have demanded immediate rollback of prices. The statement signed by nine trade unions said: “The government instead of mobilising resources from rich corporate who has capacity to pay has pushed the entire burden on the ordinary people.”

SUPPORT

Congress:  There are some unpleasant decisions that have to be taken by the government by taking an overall view of what is best for the country, party General Secretary Digvijay Singh said.

Plan Panel: The country needs lot of tough decisions and diesel and petrol prices should be deregulated in phases to cut down deficit, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh said.
"I think they have taken a very important step. I am very glad that the government has taken this decision (to hike diesel price)," he said.

Confederation of India Industries (CII): "The decision of the government to hike diesel prices and LPG (beyond six cylinders) is borne out of necessity from the point of fiscal consolidation, said CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee.

PMEAC: 
The decision provides room for Reserve Bank to ease monetary policy to give thrust on growth. It will bring down burden on fiscal deficit even as it will put pressure on inflation. Inflation is expected to go up at least 0.4 per cent as diesel price hike will have cascading effect, Prime Minister's
Economic Advisory Council Chairman (PMEAC) C Rangarajan said.

Department of Economic Affairs:
Department of Economic Affairs Secretary (DEA) Arvind Mayaram said the hike in diesel prices was 'difficult but necessary decision'.
    
Yes Bank:
Yes Bank's Chief Economist Shubhada Rao said, "Rise in diesel price will increase inflation by 35-40 basis points."
    
Crisil: "Diesel has larger weight than petrol, it (hike in petrol price) will have inflationary effect but it is a good decision. It will put pressure on inflation in short but in long run will have good impact on economy," Crisil Chief Economist D K Joshi said.

Auto makers: The automobile industry welcomed the diesel price hike, saying it is a much-awaited decision. However, it added that the hike has come at a wrong time for the overall economy.
    
"It is a good decision but the Rs 5 per litre hike will hurt the consumer and market. We have been saying that diesel prices should be corrected in a staggered manner," Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Senior Director Sugato
Sen said.
    
Mahindra & Mahindra Chief Executive (Automotive Division) Pravin Shah said: "This is a much-debated and much-awaited decision. For the auto industry, it is a welcome one as diesel needs to be priced at market value.

 

JPN/Agencies

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