Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Congress (M) leader K.M. Mani has criticised the State government for its failure to cushion the effect of the recent fuel price hike by announcing tax concessions.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Mani said the Centre had contained the price hike through excise and customs duty cuts. “The State government has an equal responsibility to take action to reduce the impact [of the hike] on the people.” He said other States had by now announced creative measures to reduce the burden on the people. He refused to buy the contention that the Finance Minister’s foreign visit was a block in the government taking an appropriate decision especially at a time when communication was easier and faster. Though Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had announced that the government would forgo a portion of the sales tax consequent on the price hike, no steps had been taken in this direction.

He wanted the Chief Minister to seek Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran’s clarification on the directions he issued to the Revenue Secretary to take action against the Trivandrum Golf Club.

He said the Revenue Secretary’s disclosure that she had taken action against the club on the basis of the Minister’s direction was a very serious matter.

It was tantamount to ignoring the law and the High Court. Mr. Mani said he was against the takeover of the Golf Club. If at all the government wanted to do so, it should be done according to well-laid rules and in accordance with the due process of law. He said the previous UDF government was of the opinion that the lease rent was unscientific and had proposed to rationalise it, making adequate provisions for payment of arrears.

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