Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has said that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) has no moral right to launch the ‘jail filling up agitation' (Jail Nirakkal agitation) to protest against rising prices, when the State government, led by the party, had imposed high tariff on all essential services.

Addressing mediapersons here on Friday, Mr. Chandy alleged that the Left Democratic Front government had not taken any measures to curb prices of essential commodities. Though the price of the petroleum goods did not change much in the last four years, the LDF government increased bus rates, Mr. Chandy said. Water tariff was also hiked during the period, he added.

The government also tried to impose on the public a hike of 46 paisa a unit as surcharge on electricity by providing fabricated documents to the Electricity Regulatory Commission, he alleged. According to a statement submitted by the Electricity Board to the commission, the board incurred a loss of Rs.311 crore. But the commission found that the actual loss was only Rs.190 crore and suggested the present hike, 25 paisa a unit, he said.

Mr. Chandy said the State government has to pay a huge sum to the Civil Supplies Corporation for the subsidy provided by the Corporation to the public. Moreover, the government did not make any budgetary allocation for the Corporation to meet the additional expense.

The Union government had adopted measures to rein in prices with the support of State governments. Still, the CPI(M)-led government was engaged in an agitation to salvage its lost reputation, he said. Mr. Chandy came down heavily on the “land encroachments of the CPI(M)-sponsored organisations in Wayanad.”

Meet on traffic ban

Mr. Chandy said that he and V.S. Achuthanandan, the State Chief Minister, would meet Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, on Monday to discuss problems regarding night traffic ban on the NH-212 through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. “We are hopeful of an amicable solution,” he said.

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