Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran has taken up cudgels against oil companies for their recent decisions on cutting LPG subsidy and hiking diesel prices by writing a protest letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Mr. Sudheeran, criticising the oil companies’ “foolish and funny restrictions” on cooking gas, urged the Prime Minister to take steps to bring back the administrative prices regime for petroleum products. Since the claims of oil companies regarding losses sustained by them were not credible, he wanted the Comptroller and Auditor General to scrutinise the accounts of oil companies in order to bring out the real position.
Mr. Sudheeran suggested that the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders should be raised to 12 a year a family and the price of unsubsidised cylinders should be brought to a tolerable and reasonable level. The decision to hike the price of diesel had led to uncontrollable rice in prices of all essential commodities and services.
The price hike was carried out at a time when the cost of living had increased even while income level of the common man remained static. He questioned the rationale of imposing unrealistic restrictions on the supply of subsidised cooking gas.
“How can a family of four pull on with just six cylinders a year? This blind reform proves undoubtedly how far the government machinery has moved away from the realities of present Indian life,” he said.
He alleged that the oil companies were exploiting the situation because they sensed that the Centre was lenient towards them. He referred to media reports about the moves of the oil companies to impose certain foolish and funny restrictions on the supply of LPG to apartments, orphanages, and educational institutions where mid-day meals were given and hostels.
In addition, the oil companies were now creating an artificial shortage of cooking gas and were calculatedly disrupting the supply system, he said.