The West Bengal unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has called for a day-long transport strike across the State on Saturday in protest against the Centre's decision to increase fuel prices.
“The Centre has said that the prices were increased in accordance with the international fuel prices, but all facts are not being revealed in this reasoning,” Shyamal Chakraborty, West Bengal CITU president said here on Friday.
The tax component in fuel prices is much higher than its cost in the international market. For example, when the cost of petrol was Rs.48 a litre, the cost of petrol after refining was only Rs. 22, while the remaining went to the government as tax, he said.
Mr. Chakraborty was also critical of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's “hypocritical” comments against the Centre's decision to hike prices. “She was a member of the group of ministers who took the decision and was in New Delhi, but she chose to stay away from the meeting and make nominal protests outside.”
Earlier in the day, Ms. Banerjee told journalists in New Delhi that she was “unhappy” with the decision and would urge the Centre to reconsider it.
The Left Front also targeted the Trinamool Congress in its protest against the price hike.
In a statement, Biman Bose, chairman of the State's Left Front Committee, said: “The Trinamool Congress, a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance, cannot shirk responsibility in this decision to raise prices.”
Describing it as an unprecedented move, Gurudas Dasgupta, general secretary, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said “never before has the Government of India increased fuel prices twice within six months.”
“This is the first time that petroleum prices have been opened to the international market and will, therefore, be under the speculative pressures of multinationals. This will dangerously aggravate the situation,” Mr. Dasgupta added.