In a sharp attack on the Centre's dual pricing policy on diesel for bulk consumers, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday termed it as "ill-conceived" and "short-sighted" and demanded its withdrawal.
In a hard-hitting letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the chief minister said she was "appalled at the callousness and deviousness of this shocking move that defies all logic" and accused the UPA government of paying only "lip service" to protecting the 'aam aadmi', but raining "one blow after another" on them.
She said the steep hike of Rs. 11 per litre for bulk consumers under dual pricing policy would hit the state transport undertakings and she was aghast at the "callous attitude" of the Centre.
This was "one of the many short-sighted measures" taken by the UPA government.
Noting that the "peculiar dual pricing policy" has landed bulk consumers like state transport undertakings (STUs) in a very precarious financial situation, she demanded withdrawal of this "ill-conceived, ill-timed decision which is totally inflationary, discriminatory and anti-poor".
In the case of Tamil Nadu, the STUs were forced to suffer an increased burden of Rs. 750 crore in their fuel bill per annum, she said, adding, she was "appalled at the callousness and deviousness of this shocking move that defies all logic".
She charged the Centre with "perversely" allowing the super-rich owners of luxury cars, including high priced SUVs running on diesel, to continue to enjoy subsidy and pay almost Rs. 10 less per litre than STUs that provide public transport.
It was neither feasible nor advisable to raise the bus fares to make up for the huge and sudden increase in the diesel price since it would be unbearable for the common people, she said, adding, it was equally the duty of the Centre to share the burden of subsidy to provide affordable public transportation facilities.
"The Central Government cannot shirk its responsibility and pass on the burden of their own financial mis-management to the States and impose untold hardship on the citizens", she added.