The traffic came to a grinding halt on National Highway No.9 near Krishnalanka Fire Station with Communist Party of India-Marxist CPI(M) activists blocking the road for more than an hour in protest against the rise in petrol prices.

The traffic moved at snail's pace for considerable time even after the CPI(M) workers were taken into custody here on Thursday.

The slogans against the hike rented the air.

The party workers alleged the State Government of plundering reserves and described them as thieves the slogan: “Edemi rajyam Edemi rajyam? Dopidi rajyam dongala rajyam” (What State is this? its plunder-State, robbers State).

Party city secretary Ch. Babu Rao, former corporators Donepudi Kasinath, Korada Ramu, K. Sridevi, Kaja Saroja and others participated in the road blockade.

On the occasion, they said that the hike was a cruel blow on people who were already suffering from steep price rise.

The Central Government's move was completely unethical and undemocratic. The Centre was resorting to frequent rise in price of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, burdening the common man.

The increase would have a cascading effect on prices of essential commodities. It shows how insensitive the UPA Government was to the sufferings of the commoner, they said.

Demanding rollback of the hike, the leaders said: “We will not allow the hike to be implemented.

The Government should roll back the hike immediately otherwise people's agony would spell its doom.

Mr. Babu Rao said that the Government hiked the petrol prices only to benefit the Reliance company.

The UPA had increased the petrol prices 30 times ever since it came to power.

There was no doubt that the hike would dent the poor and middle class purchasing power.

There was no truth in claims of the Government that fall in rupee value forced the oil companies to revise the price, they observed.

The Government could take the burden of fuel price hikes off the shoulders of the common man by doing away with the various tax breaks given to corporate houses, Mr. Babu Rao added.

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