New Delhi, Sept. 13 (PTI): The Centre tonight raised the diesel price by Rs 5 per litre and capped the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinder to six per household a year.
For the remaining part of the current financial year, the number of subsidised LPG cylinder to a consumer would be three cylinders. A government release said any number of LPG cylinders would be available at the market rate over the capped number of six. While the price of subsidised cylinder would continue to be Rs 420 per cylinder in Patna, the market rate would be notified by oil firms on monthly basis.
Faced with the task of bringing down the ballooning oil subsidy, the government for the first time introduced a cap on supply of LPG cylinders of 14.2kg that will make the consumers pay market price for cylinders beyond six.
The price of diesel in Patna would be Rs 50.36 per litre from midnight, a hike of Rs 5.26.
The moves aimed at raking in an additional Rs 20,300 crore to the oil firms sparked widespread protest from the political parties as well as masses. The tough decisions, which came under immediate attack from allies like Trinamul Congress and Samajwadi Party and opposition alike, were taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. They will come into effect from midnight.
Both the ruling and the Opposition parties in Bihar condemned the diesel price hike and the cap on the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders.
The RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, termed the price hike unjustified. “It will be a burden on the common man, particularly the farmers,” he said.
The JD(U) spokesperson, Sanjay Singh, said: “The diesel price hike will lead to further inflation of essential commodities. By curbing the subsidised LPG gas, the Union government has virtually doubled the cost of LPG gas for the consumers. The government at the Centre is not for the common man but for the corporate honchos.”
Describing the hike in diesel prices as a cruel joke and “mortal blow” on the common man and farmers, BJP today accused the government of conspiring with petrol “mafia” and said it would not allow the hike and take to the streets instead.
“This is a cruel joke on the common man in the country. We will not allow this hike,” BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said the hike would have a cascading effect on prices and would contribute further to inflation.
Trinamul Congress, a key constituent of the UPA, also opposed the hike in diesel price saying it was not consulted on the step and demanded its rollback.
The party chief and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said: “We are unhappy, we will not accept it and demand its rollback.”