Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday lashed out at the Congress-led UPA government for the steep hike in the price of diesel and demanded an immediate withdrawal of the hike.
In a statement issued here, Badal said an increase of Rs 5 in the price of diesel was absolutely "unrealistic and arbitrary".
He added on the one hand the Centre claimed an abnormally high rate of growth in the country's economy, while on the other it was burdening the common man with unbearable increase in the prices of petroleum products, contrary to its stand for showing concern for the "Aam Admi".
The chief minister said the hike in diesel price would be a fatal blow to the agriculture sector as the farming was no longer a profitable venture due to the massive hike in agricultural inputs.
He said the hike would further enhance the cost of agriculture inputs, making the life of beleaguered farmers miserable, adding that it would also result in hike in the transportation and freight charges, thereby considerably impacting the consumer market by corresponding price rise of essential commodities and other materials.
Badal said the Centre should have taken into confidence the states prior to recommending any hike in the prices of diesel as it would adversely impact the farm sector in the country, especially in Punjab.
He also flayed the move of the Centre to restrict supply of domestic LPG cylinder only to six in a year.
'Govt overburdening common man'
Meanwhile, SAD president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said there was no justification for steep hike in the prices of oil products.
He said the formula of multi-national oil companies for calculating the market price of diesel and LPG was totally opaque as they were putting the burden of their inefficiency on the common man.
He further said by restricting the supply of LPG cylinders to six per family in a year, the Congress-led UPA government had deliberately targeted the middle class, as it was the most vociferous against the ruling party in anti-corruption campaign throughout the country.
He said six cylinders a year would bring back the ration era of Congress party.
He feared the decision would hit farmers and transporters the most, and demanded an immediate rollback of the increase in price of diesel.