(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 3, 2013
Withdraw Diesel Price Rise: CITU
THROUGH a statement issued from New Delhi on January 24: the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) condemned the Congress-led UPA government’s policy of deregulation of petroleum products and that of forcing the parity of their pricing with the international prices.
The CITU pointed out that the government has mandated the oil companies to impose phased hikes in the price of diesel and that oil marketing companies have already imposed a 45 paise per litre hike for general consumption. However, a steep hike of Rs 11 per litre has been imposed on the bulk purchases by public utility services like state road transport, railways, power plants etc. the Railways use 2428 million tonnes of diesel annually and will now have to shell out Rs 2727 crore more per annum for fuel. State road transport undertakings will have to pay Rs 2462 crore more every year for fuel. Similar is the situation for power plants.
Obviously, the CITU said, this steep hike in diesel price for public utility services cannot but have a cascading effect and that the burden is being transferred on to the common people for rail and road transport services and on their consumption of electricity etc. Even before the budget next month, the railways minister has announced steep increases in rail fares. The rail budget is likely to impose another dose of burden.
The CITU also pointed out that all the state road transport undertakings are facing serious financial crises and that the additional burden of increased price of diesel plus a tax of 24.6 per cent would now cause huge problems for these undertakings, their workers and the people. On bulk purchases, including those for road transport, the diesel price was last increased on September 14, 2012 by six rupees per litre plus tax. Due to the central government’s decisions, a majority of the state transport corporations are already on the verge of closure. In many states, non-payment of salaries and pensions in time to road transport workers has led to some workers and pensioners committing suicide.
The CITU has therefore demanded immediate rollback of the hikes in diesel price, including the steep increase in its price for the public utility services.