Critical of the Centre’s decision to deregulate the pricing of diesel, the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party held a protest demonstration in the Capital and demanded that the decision be immediately withdrawn as it would ruin the economy due to its impact on the prices of all essential commodities.

Leading the protesters at Patparganj in East Delhi, unit president Vijender Gupta said the decision to allow the oil marketing companies to decide the price of diesel would wreak havoc on the masses by further pushing up inflation.

Mr. Gupta said the price of diesel should be immediately reduced and its decontrol put on hold. He questioned the logic behind the decision and charged that the Government was acting at the behest of foreign companies and foreign powers.

“On the one hand, the Government is providing cash subsidy of thousands of crores and on the other hand it is taking away money from the people by increasing the price of diesel, CNG, petrol, kerosene, cooking gas and edible oils and by hiking the rail fare. Simply put, the Government is making the lives of people difficult in the name of reforms.”

The BJP leader also charged that the claim of the OMCs that they were suffering a loss on account of under-recoveries in diesel was wrong as they have been “paying dividend every year to their share holders and have been placing advertisement about their earning heavy profits annually”.

Mr. Gupta cautioned that if diesel would become more costly, it would ruin agriculture in India. “The Government claims that in the 12th five year plan, the development rate of agriculture will be 4 per cent and on the other hand it has put additional financial burden on the farmers by increasing the price of diesel, which would also lead to a rise in prices of all other inputs.”

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V. K. Malhotra said while the price of diesel for individual consumers has gone up by Rs. 0.50, for the bulk consumers it has been raised by over Rs.10.00 per litre which would make electricity, steel, cement, rail travel and transport more costly. This in turn would also increase construction costs and prices of all items of daily use, he said.

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