Pranab asks CMs to cut cess on fuel; States to bear burden?

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Jun 26: It seems like the Centre government has no obligation towards the public as it asked the state governments to reduce state cesses on LPG and diesel. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday, Jun 25 urged state Chief Ministers to reduce the cesses charged by the states.

While the opposition parties and some of the allies of UPA II government continue to protest the Centre's decision to hike the fuel price, Congress has started damage control measures. Congress leaders including Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit backed the fuel price hike by saying that hike was necessary to reduce the burden on the oil companies.

Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister, who opposed the price hike, announced to withdraw cess on LPG and thus save Rs 16 per cylinder for the consumers with immediate effect, in order to provide relief to the common people reeling under hiked fuel price.

On Friday Jun 24, Central government increased the price of the diesel by Rs 3 per litre, domestic LPG by Rs 50 per cylinder and kerosene by Rs 2 per litre.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, nation witnessed countrywide protest against the price hike. Opposition parties including BJP and Left slammed the Congress-led UPA for the price hike. BJP held a protest in New Delhi and ended in clash between security officials and party supporters.

The All India Motor Transport Congress also demanded a rollback in diesel prices saying, "AIMTC strongly protests and deplores the current hike in diesel price. We request the Prime Minister and the finance minister for a I00% rollback of the diesel price hike," the organization said.

Private bus operators in Kerala announced a one-day strike on June 29 protesting the price hike. They demanded an immediate fare hike in view of the diesel price increase.

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