Left to oppose hike in petro prices: Raja

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Chennai, Jan 12 (UNI) CPI National Secretary D Raja today said the Left Parties would oppose any attempt at increasing the prices of petroleum products.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Raja charged the UPA Government at the Centre with ''failure'' to control prices of essential commodities and said the Left parties would oppose the Union Government both inside and outside Parliament if it hiked the prices of petroleum products.

Any increase in diesel prices would have cascading effect on the price of essential commodities, he warned and said the government should explore various means to lower the loss incurred by oil companies instead of placing the burden on the common man.

Mr Raja said the Customs, Excise Duty and Sales Tax on petroleum products could be lowered to aid the oil companies.

The Centre should also review the Patents Act to check the spiralling cost of life-saving drugs.

Drug prices had shot up after the Centre brought in amendments to the Patents Act, he claimed and demanded the law be subjected to complete review to contain the price rise, he said.

On unemployment,Mr Raja said the Left would oppose any move to raise the retirement age of government employees from the present 60. The Union Budget for 2008-09 should also give priority for farm sector if the Prime Minister's vision of four per cent growth in agriculture was to be realised, the CPI leader said.

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