Kerala Cabinet on Thursday called upon the Centre to withdraw the petrol price hike. It also decided to forgo the increase in State taxes arising from the hike in price, consequent to which the price of petrol will come down by Rs. 1.63 a litre.

Briefing the media, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here that he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jaipal Reddy on Wednesday itself calling for withdrawal of the excessive increase in price of petrol. The Cabinet resolution would now be communicated to the Union Government.

Mr. Chandy said that the State would suffer a loss of additional revenue of Rs. 218 crore because of the decision to forgo tax. The government felt that it would be insincere to protest against the hike on petrol prices and accept tax on the increased portion of the price. However, the government would be incurring increased expenditure on purchase of petrol for its vehicles at higher prices. To offset this, the government would take austerity measures on the use of vehicles, without affecting efficiency of government.

He said that the Kerala government would also communicate its protests about the Central government’s decision to allow import of areacanut. The import was proposed on the ground that it was a raw material for manufacture good for exports.

The Chief Minister said that the Cabinet had approved the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission to pay compensation to the victims of spraying of endosulfan by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala, in principle. The total expenditure for this would come to about Rs. 100 crore. The Cabinet had decided that the government and the corporation should share the amount equally. The Commission had recommended payment of Rs. 5 lakh each to the bedridden victims and next of kin of the dead. Rs. 3 lakh each were to be paid to other victims. The previous government had decided that the Corporation should bear the full cost of compensation. However, the present government had cancelled that order.

He said that the Cabinet had given the green signal for establishment of a medical college in Palakkad under the Scheduled Caste Welfare Department. A deputy labour commissioner would be put in charge of the area of construction of green field stadium for the National Games in Thiruvananthapuram after declaring it a special work area. Rs. 10 lakh each would be sanctioned for installation of statues of Malayalam film actors Satyan and Prem Nazir of yester years, on the basis of request made by committees formed for the purpose.

Keywords: Petrol price hikeNDAUPA