Sticking to her demand for a rollback of fuel prices, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday appeared to have justified the Left-backed strike in West Bengal against the hike.

“Everyone has a right to protest,” she said when asked to comment on the strike in West Bengal by the CPI(M)- backed trade union, CITU.

“I am disturbed”

“The hike in prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene has overburdened the people...I am disturbed,” she told journalists and appealed to the government to reconsider its decision.

Ms. Banerjee said she conveyed her displeasure to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, whom she met second time in as many days. A day before the decision by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to hike the fuel prices, Ms. Banerjee had met the Finance Minister and expressed her reservations over the move.

Additional burden

The Minister said the rise in price of diesel would also impact the Railways which would have to bear an additional burden of Rs. 460 crore to run its fleet of over 5,000 diesel locomotives.

Ms. Banerjee made her unhappiness clear over the government's decision, saying her party did not support the move to hike fuel prices and that was the reason she was not present at the meeting of EGoM.

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