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Fuel price hike: Mamata urges all parties to launch nationwide stir

Fuel price hike: Mamata urges all parties to launch nationwide stir
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Kolkata: Giving a call for nationwide protest against spiraling fuel prices to all Opposition parties irrespective of their ideologies, Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chairperson Mamata Banerjee raised her voice demanding resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi if he fails to slash the price of cooking gas cylinders and keep the same below Rs 400 as it was before he came to power in 2014.

"The price of LPG cylinder has doubled from Rs 400 to Rs 800 in the past six years after Narendra Modi came to power. They have withdrawn Rs 4,442 crore subsidy on kerosene. It must be kept in mind that poor people still use kerosene as fuel in their houses. Again, the prices of petrol and diesel are going up every day despite the rate of crude oil in the international market becoming half compared to that of 2014," Banerjee said after reaching her Kalighat residence, riding an electric scooter as a mark of protest.

She requested leaders of all the Opposition parties in the country to build up protest against the "anti-people moves of the Centre".

"They are not sparing anyone. It could be a journalist, social worker or political leader. They are labeling them as terrorists for raising voice against them. Trinamool Congress will carry out statewide agitation against the price rise. I would request all including Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra, Stalin in Tamil Nadu and CPI(M) in Kerala to build up a protest against the same," Banerjee said.

A comparative study shows that the price of crude oil in 2014 was $105.29 per barrel and then the prices of petrol and diesel were Rs 80.20 per litre and Rs 59.50 per litre respectively. Now, when the price of crude oil has reduced to $54.79 per barrel, the price of petrol and diesel has gone up to Rs 91.12 and Rs 84.20 per litre respectively in the country.

In 2016, the subsidised rate of kerosene was Rs 16.52 per litre and now it has gone up to Rs 34.70 per litre. This comes even as more than 2 crore people of 56 lakh families in Bengal are dependent on fossil fuels.

"What were the prices of petrol and diesel when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power? What is the price now? If one calculates, then he or she will find that there is a huge gap as the prices have jumped abnormally. Most people are involved in the unorganised sector. If they spend Rs 1,650 for two cylinders a month, how will they survive," Banerjee said, adding that even farmers are not given subsidies for diesel today.

The Mamata Banerjee government has already reduced cess by Re 1 to give respite to people from the skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices.

"They (Modi government) give false assurance of giving free-of-cost gas (LPG cylinder) to people when elections approach. Basically, they give gas (false hope) to people that are used to fill balloons. In Bengali, it means they cheat people by giving false assurances," Banerjee said.

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