Opposition slams government over petrol price hike


New Delhi: Opposition parties Thursday slammed the government for the petrol price hike, terming it as a blow to the common man, and announced they would organise countrywide protests against the move.

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Petrol prices have been hiked by over Rs.3 per litre effective midnight Thursday.

“Government’s economic policy has failed once again. Because of the wrong policies of an economist prime minister, the common man has got another blow of price rise,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Shahnawaz Husain said.

He said the government’s stand that the hike was to cover the loss incurred by oil companies was an excuse.

“Government is increasing the prices of petrol and diesel repeatedly on account of the loss being borne by the companies, it is only an excuse. They have also made an excuse that price has risen in international market,” said Husain, adding there was steep hike in prices of petroleum products just a few months ago.

“We will oppose it, and will create pressure on the government to take it back,” he asserted.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) S. Ramachandran Pillai said the hike is “a burden” on the common people as it will further lead to food inflation.

“We have been asking the government to tweak the tax structure to compensate the petroleum companies,” said Pillai, also a party politburo member.

His party and politburo colleague Brinda Karat asserted: “We are totally opposed to this hike and there will be a nationwide agitation against it.”

Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the lower income groups would be the worst sufferers.

“It is going to affect the common people, the middle class, lower middle class, poor people who live in bastis,” Dasgupta said.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) general secretary Javed Raza said his party will take the protest against the hike to the streets.

“The government should roll back the hike in petrol prices as it would hit the common man already reeling under the high prices of essential prices.”

Petrol prices were hiked for the 10th time since June 2010, by a little over Rs.3 a litre as India’s oil retailers sought to pass on to consumers most of the burden of the falling value of the rupee and high crude prices.

Petrol will now cost Rs.66.84 in the national capital, Rs.71.76 in Mumbai, Rs.70.64 in Chennai and Rs.71.15 in Kolkata.

Prices of diesel and other transport and cooking fuels, that are still controlled by the government, were left untouched.