Opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including PDP and BJP, on Tuesday demanded an mmediate roll back of the hike in fuel prices and increasing the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders in the state.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Mohammad Akbar Lone allowed a discussion on the crisis arising out of the LPG cap following an adjournment motion moved by several members, including some from the treasury benches.
As soon as the house assembled, pandemonium broke out as opposition PDP and BJP demanded suspension of question hour to discuss the problems caused by the cap on LPG cylinders.
Lone urged the opposition to allow the question hour proceedings after which the LPG crisis will be discussed but suspended the day's business as the opposition refused to relent.
Speaking on the adjournment motion, leader of opposition Mehbooba Mufti warned that if the cap on the number of subsidised cylinders was not increased, it can lead to upheaval during the winter.
"There is a possibility of upheaval during the winter if LPG gets out of reach of the common people. They are already reeling under electricity shortage and will be left with no alternative for fuelling their kitchen," she said.
Mehbooba asked the state government to take cue from Congress-ruled states like Delhi and increase the number of subsidised cylinders.
She also lamented that the verification process for LPG connections was tedious and resulted in unwarranted hardships for the people of the state.
The PDP president said it was surprising that the latest price issued by the oil companies after approval from government for unsubsidised cylinders was Rs 100 more than elsewhere in the country.
"Why should the prices be Rs 100 higher in our state?" she asked.
CPI(M) MLA MY Tarigami said while he was happy at the unanimity of the house on this crucial public issue, the debate should not end in the house.
"Concrete measures should follow to provide relief to the people," he said.
Tarigami said while the government at Centre was providing tax holidays worth trillions of rupees to the multi-national corporations, it is hard-pressing the common man in the name of so called reforms.
"Why is the government shying away from providing a subsidy of few thousand crores to the common man when it is waiving off taxes worth lakhs of crores for MNCs?" he asked.
He said the price rise in international markets was a fiction and the oil companies in the country were not running in losses.
National Panthers Party (NPP) MLA Harsh Dev Singh said the hike in fuel prices has resulted in price hike of all commodities and will put pressure on forests.
"People will look for alternative fuel and it will put pressure on forests. Once the price of diesel is hiked, it automatically increases the price of all commodities as transportation costs go up," he added.
Singh suggested that the state government reduce the duties and taxes on LPG and diesel to provide some relief to the people of the state.
Expelled BJP MLA Chaman Lal Gupta said the LPG cylinder cap should be at least 12 per year and the cost of unsubsidised cylinder should not be more than Rs 600.
Congress MLAs G A Mir and Vikar Rasool defended the reforms initiated by the Centre saying funds were needed for development and welfare programmes run by the government.
They, however, demanded that the LPG cap in Jammu and Kashmir should be relaxed in view of the harsh winter conditions in the state.
Earlier, BJP and NPP MLAs staged a protest outside the assembly entrance against the LPG cap and hike in fuel prices.
The MLAs demanded that governor N N Vohra should dismiss the state government.