Condemning the Centre’s decision allowing state-run companies to raise diesel price from time to time, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday demanded reversal of the policy in the interests of the common people. At present, the Centre is fixing the price.

In a statement, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the freedom given to state-run companies to revise diesel price would lead to a hike in the prices of essential commodities and fares of public and private transport, hurting the middle class and poor most. Inflation would go up further.

It was unacceptable to pass on the burden to the common people when 70 per cent of the petroleum requirement was met through imports, Ms. Jayalalithaa said. Already, the oil firms were hiking petrol price following deregulation and this would be the norm of the day for diesel as well. Anticipating disapproval of the public for such a move, the Centre, in a bid to find an escape route, had increased the annual cap on subsidised LPG cylinders from six to nine. When the popular demand was for removal of the annual cap, the Centre’s announcement was disappointing, the Chief Minister said.

Criticising the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Ms. Jayalalithaa wanted its president M. Karunanidhi, who was lending stability to an “anti-people Central government,” to explain to people his stand on the UPA government’s decisions that would really hurt them.

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