Jayalalithaa says people are disenchanted with Centre

Condemning the hike in diesel price and demanding its roll back, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday said people were disenchanted with the Centre and ready to express it with their votes.

Besides a change in the government, such an action would also pave the way for an improvement in their living standard, Ms. Jayalalithaa declared.

Lashing out at the Centre and its economic and petroleum product pricing policies, the Chief Minister, in a statement, said the hike in diesel price, at a time when prices of essential commodities were already soaring, was like rubbing salt in wounds. Both the policies, she added, were behind the price rise.

The 50 paise a litre hike in the fuel price, without taking into account the strengthening of the rupee and drop in prices of petroleum products in the international market, seemed to be the Centre’s Deepavali gift to the people, she said.

Underscoring the need for the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India to work in tandem to control the price rise, Ms. Jayalalithaa said though the States had only a small role, Tamil Nadu had taken many measures for the benefit of economically weaker people.

While listing out the measures, she said the Centre had in January announced that bulk consumers would not be eligible for subsidised diesel. For such users, the price was Rs.11 more per litre. When she had objected to the dual pricing policy, the Union Petroleum Minister had suggested that the additional burden be passed on to users.

Her government, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, did not resort to this, barring once in November 2011. At the time of revision in fares, diesel price was Rs.43.95 a litre, which in two years rose to Rs.56.61, an increase of 29 per cent. The transport corporations of other States were regularly increasing the bus fares. Whereas in Tamil Nadu, the government allotted Rs.200 crore last fiscal towards the increased fuel expenditure. In the current fiscal, it had set aside Rs.500 crore.

The Chief Minister also demanded that the Centre take back the powers given to the public sector oil marketing companies to increase diesel prices every month.

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