Chennai/Ranchi/ Etah/Patna, June 7 : A day-long shutdown called by Left parties in Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand against the hike in fuel prices began today.
The steep hike in fuel prices continued to spark protests across India. Women in Uttar Pradesh expressed their anguish by piling empty cooking gas cylinders to block traffic and took up mock cooking on the roads. Hundreds of women in Etah district demanded that the State Government should take steps to ease the burden on the consumers. "If the condition remains the same, we would not get baked bread anymore. Or it might be possible that we'll have to eat flour to survive. So it is our warning to the State Government that that they should immediately reduce the prices of cooking gas in Uttar Pradesh with the help of State Government," said Ashok Pandey, a social worker.
Legislators in Patna said they would continue to use cycles in a symbolic protest against the fuel price hike.
"I along with members of my party will start a nationwide protest against rising prices of petrol and diesel," said Narendra Singh, Food and Consumer Protection Minister.
With elections looming, some State Governments moved to ease the burden on consumers by cutting local duties by a few percentage points, but at the expense of their own budgets and of efforts to curb demand for fuel.
Opposition parties and the government's own communist allies have resorted to strikes and protests against this week's hike in petrol and diesel prices, saying the government should have done more to protect ordinary people from rising global oil prices.
The problems facing the government less than a year before elections were underlined on Friday with news inflation rose to a fresh 3-1/2 year high of 8.24 percent.