Opposition slams govt. for fuel price hike

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PETROLNew Delhi, September 2; Government on Monday came under sharp attack from Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha over fuel price hike with CPI(M), CPI and Trinamool members staging walk-out from the House which saw a brief adjournment due to uproar.

Members including those from BJP attacked the government over the issue saying making the announcement outside the House amounted to bypassing Parliament when it was in session.

They also ridiculed Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily over his proposal to shut down petrol pumps during night to taper the fuel demand.

Accusing the government of declaring a war on common man and increasing the miseries of people, the parties demanded roll-back of the decision.

Mr. Moily has already clarified that the government has not made any such proposal and the idea of closing down petrol pumps for night hours had come from public.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Prashanta Chatterjee (CPI(M)) said it was unfortunate that petrol and diesel price hike was announced outside Parliament and demanded a rollback of the decision.

“This is the sixth increase in the price of petrol in last three months. Price of diesel is being increased 50 paisa per month. Unable to check fall in value of rupee, UPA government is resorting to hikes. Government is responsible for increasing the miseries of people,” he said.

Noting that pricing of petrol was decontrolled by UPA government and “on diesel, they have taken a principle decision”, Mr. Chatterjee demanded that the government should scrap it immediately.

M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) rued that the government’s “totally anti-people” decision came without taking Parliament into confidence.

Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Congress) said the government has declared a war on common man and ridiculed Mr. Moily for his “ill-conceived and ill-thought” idea to shut down petrol pumps at night.

Demanding scrapping of the oil price hike, O’Brien and his party colleague Sukhendu Sekhar Roy walked out shouting “down with this anti-people government.”

Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury wanted a discussion on the issue but Deputy Chairman P J Kurien ruled it out asking him to take it up in the Business Advisory Committee meeting.

At this, Mr. Yechury accompanied by his party colleagues and some members from CPI walked out of the House saying, “You are not allowing a discussion on it and in between when a discussion is going on, the government has increased prices of petrol and diesel. So we are walking out.”

Mr. Yechury earlier insisted that the Chair should take up a discussion on the issue after Zero Hour saying it is already included in the list of business.

Earlier, when the House met for the day, Mr. O’Brien raised the issue of oil price hike saying it should be discussed first as it concerns the people of the country.

Chairman Hamid Ansari then said the issue has been listed for Zero Hour.

But, TMC members supported by some Left members, continued to press for discussion on the issue.

M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) supported him saying besides the fuel price hike, the proposal to shut petrol pumps during night too needs to be discussed.

With members persisting with their demand, Mr. Ansari adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

When the House met again, CPI(M) leader Chatterjee raised the issue of oil hike in his Zero Hour mention, which was supported by almost the entire Opposition.

Ravishankar Prasad (BJP) said the announcement on oil price hike was done bypassing Parliament when it is in session. He asked the Chair to take note of it.

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