Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday condemned the five-rupee hike in the price of diesel and the annual limit of six LPG cylinders announced by the Centre, and said the decisions would have a cascading effect on the prices of essential commodities, other products and the transport expenses of the common man.

In a statement here, she demanded that the UPA regime, if it had any concern for the common people’s welfare, immediately withdraw the diesel price hike and the restriction on LPG cylinders. She termed it an anti-people measure.

Rejecting the justification that the measures were taken in view of the rise in prices of crude in the international market, and the fall in the value of the rupee, Ms. Jayalalithaa said this was a weak argument. Had the government taken constructive steps to arrest the fall in rupee value by taking into account the crude produced in the country and the profits made by oil companies, the present hike could have been avoided. “Without taking such permanent steps, merely citing the same reason for repeatedly hiking fuel prices will not be a proper economic measure and will only pave the way for spiralling prices,” she said.

The diesel price hike would impact on the cost of using autorickshaws, cars, vans, trucks and private cabs and buses, resulting in hardship to students, office-goers, passengers and the poor, she said.

Further, limiting the LPG cylinders to six a year for each household would severely affect the poor and the middle classes. “It is impossible to meet the needs of a family if only one cylinder was available for two months,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

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