People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 21

June 08 , 2008


Left Parties Call For  Powerful Protest Movement

The Left parties - Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party - have issued the following statement on June 4, 2008. The statement was signed by the general secretaries of the four parties, Prakash Karat, A B Bardhan, Debabrata Biswas and T J Chandrachoodan.

THE government has announced a steep increase in prices of petroleum products across the board.  The price of petrol per litre is increased by Rs 5; diesel by Rs 3; and LPG cylinder by Rs 50.  This onslaught on the people comes at a time when they are suffering from the steep price rise of all essential commodities. In the background of the failure of the government to tackle the rising rate of inflation, this hike in petroleum prices will further aggravate the inflationary situation.

The increase in the price of diesel, in particular, will have a cascading effect on all-round prices as the transportation costs will rise sharply.   Rs 50 increase in the price of LPG cylinder will also be a crushing  burden on family budget of ordinary people.

The Left parties had given a set of alternative proposals which have been ignored by the government for the past three years.  The only substantial step taken is the doing away of the 5 per cent import duty on crude oil.

It is to be noted that the government has refused to impose a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas extracting companies and the private oil refineries. The spectacle of these companies reaping huge profits while the common people are burdened with huge price increases will not be lost on the people.  

The Left parties demand that the UPA government review the decision on the price hikes.  It should cut excise duties more and impose windfall taxes on private companies.  

The Left parties call for a powerful countrywide protest movement against the steep hike in petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices.  From the 5th to the 11th of June,  the Left parties will mobilise the people to conduct hartals, strikes, picketing, rail roko, rasta roko and demonstrations to register the people's protest against this unjustified burden.