Raja condemns petrol price hike

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Tiruchirapalli, Feb 15 (UNI) Communist Party of India (CPI) Secretary D Raja today said the UPA Government at the Centre could have avoided the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel if it had implemented the suggestions offered by the Left parties to enhance the country's income.

Condemning the hike, he told newspersons here that the Left parties had suggested to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram that the Government could increase the tax on the corporate sector, impose taxation on stock exchange transactions and increase short term capital gain tax. But instead, Mr Chidambaram had reduced the tax on the corporate sector.

Mr Raja said the Left parties would raise several issues including price hike of petroleum products, Indo-US nuclear pact, allowing the launch of an Israeli spy satellite from Sriharikota and the Centre's failure to check the price hike of essential commodities during the budget session of parliament.

Referring to the controversial Indo-US nuclear pact, he said the Left parties would fight against it till the government withdrew it.

''Such pacts will undermine our independence, foreign policy, sovereignty and security. India should not accept this, but think beyond nuclear power.'' Mr Raja criticised the Centre's silence over the Sri Lankan Navy planting sea mines in the international waters and wanted the Government to take immediate steps to remove them as it would endanger the nation's security. He wanted a political settlement to the ethnic Tamils issue in the island nation.

Demanding a white paper on the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP), he urged the UPA Government to remain firm in implementing the project at any cost and take suitable steps to vacate the stay against it. He also asked the Congress to spell out its stand on the SSCP.

To press the Union Government to expedite the implementation of the SSCP, the Communist parties would organise a rally in Tuticorin on February 23, he added.

The Leftist leader sought a white paper on the fluctuations in the stock exchanges of the country, which affected a huge number of small and medium scale investors.

UNI RV VD KP1737

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