Special Correspondent

Left parties' suggestions cannot be conceded, says Narayanasamy MP

Pondicherry: The general secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) V. Narayanasamy MP has said that the Opposition's agitations against the recent hike in prices of petroleum products was only a drama to divert people's attention from the facts of the circumstances that necessitated the upward revision of prices.

Addressing presspersons at his residence here on Friday Mr. Narayanasamy said that the suggestions by the Left parties that the Centre reduce the Excise duty on the petrol could not also be conceded. They should not also politicise the issue, he noted.

He said that the international prices of crude oil had been escalating and the oil companies in the country were also facing critical situation and to prevent further difficulties for the companies, the Centre had hiked the prices. However, the products such as the LPG (cooking gas cylinder) and kerosene were spared, as the increase would affect the poor. He said that the Congress on its part had persuaded the Centre to bring down the hike from Rs.4 to Rs.3 in price of petrol a litre and from Rs.2 to Rs.l for diesel.

He said that the Centre had requested the State Governments to reduce the sales tax to reduce the burden on the consumers. He felt that the State Governments could respond to this suggestion. Once the price of international price of oil came down, the Centre would bring down the increase in price, he contended.

Reservation

He said that the decision by the Centre to introduce 27 percent quota of reservation for Other Backward Classes in higher educational institutions was a step in the right direction and a legislation would be brought into force soon in this regard through Parliament. He said that it was a matter of concern that doctors and students were going on agitation to oppose it.

He said the Pondicherry Government should ensure that its order that the private professional institutions here earmarked fifty per cent of the sanctioned intake in their institutions for the students of Pondicherry domicile. No institution should try to evade the order by attempting to take cover under "minority institutions" banner. This order was applicable to all institutions. If an institution contended that it was a minority institution it should admit only students from minority community. The Government should also firmly ensure that no institution commercialised education in professional courses here.

Auto to go off road

The Joint Action Committee of all parties' sponsored trade unions of drivers, owners of autorickshaws in Pondicherry has decided to observe strike by keeping the autos off the roads for 12 hours from 6 a.m. on Tuesday (June 13) to mark the unions' protest against the hike in prices of petrol and diesel effected recently by the Centre.Addressing newsmen here on Sunday the president of the CITU headed union of autorickshaws drivers and workers, T. Murugan and its secretary G. Srinivasan, said that the hike in prices of fuel was unjustified as there were several alternative ways through which the impact of the rise in price of crude oil in international market could be met. As many 3,000 autorickshaws would be off the roads including those carrying school children on Tuesday. The strike is also to urge the Centre to withdraw the increase in price of petroleum products and restoration of status quo ante.In spite of the hike in fuel price the auto owners had not raised the fare, as they did not want to put the commuters to hardship.While keeping the vehicles off the roads the owners and drivers would also stage picketing simultaneously at three points on Tuesday (at Pattanikadai junction, Rajiv Gandhi square and the new bus terminal at Orleanpet).