Terming the hike in petro product prices as "a cruel blow" against people, four Left parties on Friday demanded its scrapping and lambasted the government for giving "false arguments" to justify these measures.
"The decision of the UPA government to inflict a steep rise in the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas is a cruel blow against the people who are already suffering due to the runaway increase in the prices of food and essential commodities," the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said in a joint statement here.
The Congress-led government, they said, had shown its "callous and anti-people" character as the decision had come when food inflation rate was around 17 per cent and general inflation rate reached double digit. "India has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of consumer price inflation in the world."
The decision to deregulate the price of petrol and leave it to the market to determine was "going to prove disastrous for the economy and the country," the parties said.
Accusing the government of "giving false arguments to justify these measures", they said the prices of petrol and diesel were increased by Rs three barely three months ago at the time of the Union Budget.
"International oil prices have not risen substantially in this period," they said and rued that the government has not rationalised the taxation structure on petroleum products which was adding to the price of petrol and diesel in a large way.
"It is a myth that such a step is being taken to protect the public sector companies from under-recoveries. The so-called under-recoveries are entirely based on notional prices calculated without any reference to the actual cost of production.
"In fact, the deregulation is only to help private companies who withdrew from the market because of the government price controls. Now they will be free to enter the market to make profits," the statement said.
By deregulating petrol prices, the government has "opened the way for continuous increases in the prices of petrol. By increasing the price of diesel and kerosene, the farmers and the poorer sections are going to be badly hit. The LPG price hike increase will further burden the middle classes".