Protests across Andhra over diesel price hike
Protesting the hike in diesel price and the fixing of limit for subsidised cooking gas cylinders, opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh Friday took to the streets.
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and others staged protests.
Demanding a rollback of the hike in diesel price and withdrawal of the six cylinders-a-year limit, all the parties barring the ruling Congress took out rallies and staged road blocks across the state.
In the state capital, the TDP took out a rally from NTR Trust Bhavan, the party headquarters, to Jubilee Hills Check Post. The rally was led by TDP chief and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
CPI activists also took out a procession in the city. Raising anti-government slogans, the protestors led by Aziz Pasha burnt the effigy of the Congress-led UPA government. The protestors also pushed a car, carrying a sticker "car for sale".
They were also carrying empty cooking gas cylinder.
"The hike will add to the miseries of the common man, already suffering due to repeated increase in prices," said Aziz Pasha.
The CPI-M held separate protests in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Khammam and other districts in the state.
The TRS protestors burnt effigies of the central government and staged road blockades in Nalgonda, Medak, Karimnagar and other districts in Telangana.
People from various sections have condemned the hike in diesel price. They fear the hike of Rs.6.11 a litre would lead to increase in prices of all essential commodities.
Bus transport is likely to become dearer with state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) contemplating a hike in bus fares to offset an additional annual burden of about Rs.350 crore due to diesel price hike.
With the central government imposing a limit on LPG cylinders, women from middle-class families have condemned the move. "It has become very difficult for a middle-class family to survive due to all-round increase in prices," said Gayatri Devi, a homemaker in Hyderabad.
Her family of six uses 12 cylinders a year and it will now have to shell out Rs.750 for every additional cylinder. The subsidised cylinder is available for Rs.405.
There are about 1.40 crore LPG connections in Andhra Pradesh. More than 55 percent of them use more than six cylinders a year.
Since the state has the highest sales tax on petroleum products, the middle-class families in the state will come under increased burden compared to other states. The state has 33 percent tax on petrol and 22.5 percent on diesel.
The opposition parties point out that the state's revenues go up with every hike in petroleum process. The latest hike in diesel prices is to fetch an additional Rs.900 crore to the state annually.
The new diesel price in Hyderabad is Rs.51.17 per litre, a hike of Rs.6.11.