Left warns govt against fuel price rise

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New Delhi, May 23: The Left parties today warned UPA government aginst commiting suicide by hiking fuel prices, saying it would rather lead to higher inflation. Top Communist leaders Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan said if the government went ahead with raising fuel prices as indicated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, government claims of bringing down inflation would be thrown out of the window.

Dr Singh recently said the government would not let state-owned oil companies suffer on account of flaring of crude prices to 135 dollar per barrel. Oil marketing companies have been pressing for increase in prices of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene to cut down their huge losses on account of high subsidies on these fuels. Four state-owned companies are reportedly losing Rs 600 crore daily.

Briefing the media after a two-hour long joint meeting of the CPI, CPI(M), RSP and Forward Bloc, Mr Karat said; " The government should not do this....rather it should act upon the Left's suggestion to restructure duties on petroleum products." Even oil companies will gain from lowering of duties, he added.

On companies' reported demand for hike in fuel prices, Mr Karat shot back: " I am not buying everything the government says." He reiterated the Left's demand to restructure excise and customs duties instead of resorting to price hike to help the oil companies.

Warning that the raise in fuel price could hike inflation to ten per cent, Mr Bardhan cautioned the government against people's wrath on the price front.


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