Kolkata, Jan 16 (PTI) The latest increase in theprices of petroleum found UPA ally Trinamool Congress and itsarch rival CPI-M on the same side, both deciding to go for anagitation to protest against the hike.
Trinamool Congress accused the UPA of not consultingit before taking the decision on the sensitive issue.
"Our leader Mamata Banerjee met Union Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee last evening at the airport here, and eventhere the decision was not communicated to her," TrinamoolCongress MP Sudip Bandopadhyay told reporters here.
Senior leader of the party Partha Chatterjee alsorepeated the charge asking the government to roll back thehike and control the price rise.
"We urge the Centre to roll back the petrol price hikeand control the prices of essentials," he said.
Meanwhile, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat saidderegulation of oil prices was fuelling inflation which, inturn, would also raise the prices of food.
Noting that the government had hiked the prices ofpetrol twice over the last one month, he said the party wouldorganise a country-wide agitation "forthwith" on the issuewith other Left and secular opposition parties.
Partha Chatterjee on the other hand announced protest-rallies and meetings all over West Bengal on January 17 and 18and observed it would be better if such issues were discussedamong UPA members before such decisions were taken.
Not to be left behind, CITU has also called athree-hour transport shutdown tomorrow from noon all over WestBengal. It would also hold a protest-meeting at Metro Channelin the city tomorrow.
Referring to abnormal prices of onion, Karat said at atime when it was known the adverse weather would affect onioncrop, the government gave incentives to its export by reducingthe minimum export price by around USD 200 per quintal.
"This accentuated the shortage of onion while leadingto huge profits for big trading companies. Subsequently, itreduced import duty to zero per cent and prevented governmentorganisations like the State Trading Corporation fromimporting onions, once again giving huge profits to privatetraders," he said.
He also slammed the government for refusing to curbspeculation in food commodities by prohibiting forward tradingin them and it is unwilling to universalise PDS and provideessential commodities through the system at reasonable prices.
Karat also made light of Trinamool''s appeal to theCentre to roll back the petrol price hike and control theprices of essentials, saying, "The price hike is a collectiveresponsibility. Trinamool Congress will have to explain to thepeople how it is part of the government whose polices havebrought untold suffering on the people." PTI AMR SBR MD