UPA has succumbed to 'petrol lobby': Munde

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Nagpur, Jun 7 (UNI) The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre has succumbed to pressure from the ''petrol lobby'' to reverse the decision of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to blend petrol with 10 per cent ethanol, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) All India General Secretary Gopinath Munde today alleged.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Munde said the financial burden of buying petroleum products would not have been so huge if the decision had been implemented.

''The financial burden of buying petrol would have been at least 10 per cent less (than it is now),'' he said.

The NDA government had decided to blend petrol with ethanol, beginning with 4 per cent and taking it up to 10 per cent, Mr Munde said. However, the UPA government ''changed'' the decision, thus aggravating the problem, he said.

Mr Munde said that ethanol blending was an accepted practice the world over, with countries like Brazil having up to 30 per cent content in the fuel.

The present government, Mr Munde said, had set a new record in hiking the price of petrol, having done so seven times in its tenure so far. ''The latest hike, of course, takes the cake,'' he said, adding that inflation, which was already at a record 8.47 per cent, would escalate further because of the increase in fuel prices.

Reiterating the party's demand for complete loan waiver for farmers, Mr Munde said that the government's move to complete the process of writing off the loans by June 30 would put cultivators in dire straits. ''Farmers usually obtain fresh crop loans in the first week of June. However, if the loan waiver process is completed by the end of June, it will mean farmers will not get fresh loans before the first week of July. The waiver, therefore, will be futile,'' he said.

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