Left Front-sponsored bandh affects life in Tripura

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Agartala, Jun 5 (UNI) The dawn-to-dusk general strike, called by the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Front in Tripura against the price hike of petrol, diesel and LPG, began this morning, disrupting life in the state.

The entire transport sector and Left-backed organisations, including employees and unions supported the 12-hour bandh while trade unions held demonstrations in favour of the strike.

Schools, colleges and business establishments also remained closed.

The celebrations of World Environment Day was postponed in the state and an environment rally was also deferred on June 7 following the bandh, Environment Minister Jaygobinda Debroy said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar reacted sharply over the price hike of petroleum products. He said, ''Our party was forced to call the dawn-to-dusk state-wide shutdown against the UPA government's decision to raise the prices of diesel, petrol and LPG to safeguard the interest of the working class in the country.'' Mr Sarkar alleged that the Centre had ignored the alternative proposals of the Left parties to tackle the fuel price-related issues and instead transferred the burden on to the common man and spared the private oil companies.

''The poorest section of the country would be worst affected due to hike of petrol by Rs 5 per litre, diesel by Rs 3 per litre and LPG by Rs 50 per cylinder, which indicates that the government wants to sell India,'' Transport Minister Manik Dey said.

Sharp reactions met the Centre's decision to enforce the single-steepest hike in fuel prices yesterday and it came under attack from its allies and Opposition parties.

The BJP lashed out at the government for hiking the prices of petroleum products, saying ''directionless UPA had unleashed economic terror on the nation.'' Meanwhile, the Tripura Committee of the Trinamool Congress announced a 12-hour bandh in the state tomorrow along with West Bengal in protest against the fuel price hike by the ''CPI(M)-supported UPA government''.

Trinamool Chairman Arun Chandra Bhowmik criticised the Left Front's movement against the price hike and termed it as a ''government-sponsored holiday'', as the Left parties had been supporting the Congress at the Centre.

Dubbing the fuel price hike by the UPA government as ''unfortunate and unprecedented'', Mr Bhowmik said, ''Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has no right to rule.'' UNI BB DPM SW BST1148

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