Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday strongly condemned the hike in the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas, and demanded that the Centre roll it back immediately.
While the petrol price hike affected motorists and car owners, predominantly from the middle class, the diesel price rise would result in an increase in transportation cost and affect the poor and the downtrodden, Ms. Jayalalithaa said in a statement. Inflation had already affected the poor and middle classes. This hike would lead to an increase in the cost of all products, including vegetables.
“While the Centre had marginally reduced the customs and excise duty on diesel and crude oil, it had asked the State government to reduce the value-added taxes. The State government is in constant touch with the people and spends a major portion on their welfare schemes. Value-added taxes account for major share of the State government's revenue. Having raised the prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG, the Centre has no right to ask the State government to reduce the value-added taxes,” she said.
“When the income of people has been constant, how can they face price rise due to increase in diesel cost?”
On the hike in cooking gas price by Rs. 50 a cylinder, she said people could not bear it.
“Kerosene is being used by the poor people and an increase of Rs. 2 per litre is totally unacceptable. While there is inflation all around, the kerosene price hike would create great hardship to the poor people. Hence, I urge upon the Centre to withdraw it [the hike] immediately,” she said.