The Left parties on Tuesday staged a protest against the hike in petrol price, which came into effect on May 15.
Members of the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and Tipu Sultan United Front (TIUF) gathered at the Mysore Bank Circle here and demanded that the Government roll back the increase of Rs. 5 in petrol price.
Pointing out that Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh maintain a much lower fuel price, Prakash K., CPI(M) Bangalore unit secretary, called for immediate action in terms of tax reduction on fuel.
“Even if you consider the existing international rates, the price of petrol will come to only Rs. 35 a litre,” he claimed and alleged that “the rest is all government-imposed taxation”.
“The Government must reduce tax rates to bring down the burden on the common man,” he said.
Endorsing Mr. Prakash's demand, Siddanagouda Patil, State secretary of the CPI, said that the Government can make up loss arising out of tax reduction by partially withdrawing the concessions given to IT companies.
Suresh Kumar, who participated in the protest, said excessive taxes on petrol affected everybody and it was not just restricted to motorists. “The increase in the price of petrol causes a cascading effect and leads to an increase in the price of other commodities. The Government should do something to combat this sharp price hike,” he said.
Dr. Patil said that the Union Government had resorted to deregulating oil prices due to international pressure. “The Union Government should take care of the welfare of its people first. Hence, petrol price must be regulated again,” he said.
The protestors called for revival of the price stabilisation fund to cushion the increase in oil prices in the international market.
This protest comes a day after the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and the Autorickshaw Drivers' Union staged a demonstration against the steep hike in petrol price at Mysore Bank Circle. An SUCI activist, Bharath Kumar, then drew the Government's attention to the price of petrol in Delhi, which is Rs. 63 a litre. “In Karnataka, it is priced Rs. 71 a litre. Easing tax will bring down the prices of petrol,” he said.