The United Progressive Alliance partner, the Trinamool Congress, on Saturday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to roll back the price hike for petro products.
The budget proposal seemed set to trigger the inflationary spiral with the transport sector in some States planning to seek a hike in their rates, Trinamool chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee told journalists here.
“The hike in the prices of petroleum products will affect the common man, who is already burdened with high prices. I request the Prime Minister and Soniaji to withdraw the hike,” Ms. Banerjee said, adding she did not raise rail fares to protect the interests of the common man.
West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta said the proposal to increase Central excise duty on petrol and diesel would aggravate the inflationary spiral including food inflation.
Ms. Banerjee also said both the Centre and the State government should tackle price hike. The prices of petroleum products in West Bengal were already very high compared to other States, she said.
The State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which took out rallies to protest against the budget proposals, described the Trinamool protest as a “theatrical show,” saying had that party been sincere it would have left the Union Ministry and hit the road.
The Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, whose writ runs among private operators and which is the backbone of the passenger transport system in West Bengal, has already started talking about fare increase, saying its office-bearers will meet the Transport Minister after discussing the matter among themselves on Tuesday.
The power sector has also said it may have to seek an increase in its tariff, if coal prices go up as a result of the imposition of a cess on coal for building the National Green Energy Fund.