KERALA Protests against Petrol-Diesel Price Hike

THE CPI(M) organised protests all across Kerala against the continuous fuel price hikes in India which have made people's lives miserable.

Thousands of people participated in the "Prathishedha Sangamam" (protest confluence) held at Kannur on May 4. A protest march was taken out from the Collectorate to the Stadium corner, where a massive public meeting was held. People participated in the protest by pushing two-wheelers and by carrying gas cylinders. The confluence was inaugurated by P Jayarajan, CPI(M) Kannur district secretary.

The CPI(M) branch committees in Ernakulam district held torchlight processions throughout the district on April 27 in protest against the petrol-diesel price hike. The anger of the people against the daylight robbery by way of the fuel price hike was clearly visible at the procession. In the last six months, the price of petrol had been increased by Rs 7, while the price of diesel had been hiked by Rs 10.

In Kozhikode, the CPI(M) protest on May 4 against the fuel price hike saw people dragging autorickshaws using ropes and pushing two-wheelers. Hundreds of activists participated in the protest march and the Prathishedha Sangamam. The protest confluence, held at Muthalakkulam, was inaugurated by P Mohanan, Kozhikode district secretary. "Those who are in power at the centre and some media outlets which are their stooges are carrying out empty, false propaganda regarding the petrol-diesel price hike," he said. "The wrong policies of the central government are adversely affecting all spheres of life as far as the common people are concerned," P Mohanan added.

The Prathishedha Sangamam at Kalpetta, the headquarters of Wayanad district was inaugurated by CK Saseendran, MLA. Hundreds of activists from various parts of the district participated in the protest. Those who spoke at the confluence said that the fuel price hike is leading the country into steep price rise. The confluence declared that the people of Wayanad district will prepare for resisting, with all their might, the policies which lead to the fuel price hike.

National Protest Day against Hike in Petro Prices

THE Communist Party of India (Marxist) observed National Protest day on May 8, against the hike in petrol and diesel prices.  Responding to the call, CPI(M) Delhi state committee, under the leadership of Polit Bureau Member Subhashini Ali, organised a protest demonstration at Parliament Street. Slogans demanding reduction of excise duty on petrol and diesel, as well as demanding arrest of inflation were raised.

The gathering was later addressed by Subhashini Ali and CPI(M) Central Committee member and Delhi state secretary KM Tiwari. In her address, Subhashini Ali condemned the hike in petrol and diesel prices. She pointed out that the sections most adversely affected due to this astronomical hike were the working class and poor since the hike in petroleum products will lead to increase in prices of essential commodities. She stressed that while on the one hand the government wants to burden the people of the country; on the other the government is giving away lakhs of crores of rupees to big corporates in the form of tax relaxations. This anti-people act proves that the government is interested only in pick-pocketing of people’s money to fill the pockets of its capitalist friends.

The sharp increase in the retail price of petrol and diesel is having a backbreaking impact on the ordinary people of this country. The price of the petroleum products have the obvious cascading effect on the essential commodity prices which the common man uses for daily life. CPI(M) firmly expresses that this unusual rise which makes retail prices of petroleum products in India, the highest in South Asia is principally on account of the tremendous hike in mopping up revenues by the central government, through excise duties.

In the last four years, from April 1, 2014, the excise duty on petrol has gone up from Rs 9.48/litre to Rs 19.48/litre as of now. This amounts to a hike of 105 per cent and 47.4 per cent of the retail price is going to the tax revenue collection. Similarly, the excise duty on diesel which was Rs 3.56/litre on April 1, 2014 has now gone up to Rs 15.33/litre. This again amounts to an increase of 330 per cent, while 38.09 per cent of the retail price is going to taxes. Going back to the earlier promise of reducing the duty in the event of hardening of the international crude price,  the government will commensurately reduce the duty, the high level of duties continue resulting in backbreaking burden on the people. The retail prices of petrol and diesel are both now ruling at the highest ever levels. It is worth pointing out that the government exchequer has generated revenue of more than 3 lakh crores in the span of the last four years due to these increases.

The CPI(M) demands that the central government should immediately roll back the excise duty to provide some relief to the people who are coming under tremendous burden. The speakers also appealed the people of Delhi to join this movement so as to force the government to roll back the excise duties.


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