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To pay for the Games

delhi Updated: Mar 23, 2010 02:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi government

The Delhi government on Monday presented a budget proposing to make bottled cooking gas, diesel and CNG costlier to fund the Commonwealth Games in October.

“This is a growth-oriented budget for the Games,” said finance minister Ashok Kumar Walia, presenting his seventh budget. In plain English, Delhiites must pay more.

The government proposes to withdraw the Rs 40 subsidy on each LPG cylinder and increase VAT on diesel and CNG to hike prices by Rs 2.37 and Rs 1.09 a litre, respectively. If these proposals go through, expect hikes in taxi and auto fares.

“We’ll demand increasing the fare of the first kilometre from Rs 10 to Rs 15,” said Sobhran Singh Rajput, president, Bhartiya Tiphaiya Chaalak Sangh.

Walia justified the withdrawal of the LPG subsidy, saying: “We have been giving subsidies as long as it was feasible. They were costing us Rs 850 crore to Rs 1,000 crore.”

This subsidy was announced in June 2008.

Taxes are going up on a host of other items such as high-end mobiles and apparel.

The Delhi BJP called it an “anti-people budget” and staged a walkout in the assembly. “The government has betrayed the trust of its residents,” said Leader of Opposition V.K. Malhotra. “We will launch protests.”