TMC launches two-day state-wide protest against hike in fuel prices
The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal launched a two-day state-wide protest against hike in fuel prices on Saturday.
Petrol is retailing at over ₹101 per litre and diesel at more than ₹92 in West Bengal, while domestic LPG touched ₹861 per cylinder.
State ministers, MPs, legislators and other leaders of the party hit the streets, holding rallies and staging protests in innovative ways sometimes using bullock carts and cooking on the road with wood.
“The centre imposed enormous taxes on petroleum products, causing a lot of hardships for the common people. Petro-product prices were unregulated, allowing oil companies to raise prices to increase their profits so that their share prices also rise,” said Frihad Hakim state transport minister.
While at Girish Park in Kolkata, a scooty was loaded on a hand-cart and then dragged. At Ganga Sagar in South 24 Parganas, TMC workers cooked on the road and organised a rally with bullock carts. At Canning, local party leaders held a rally carrying LPG cylinders on their shoulders. At Kashipur in the northern fringes of Kolkata, TMC supporters tore posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier this week, state labour minister Becharam Manna had pedalled around 40 kilometres on a bicycle from his house at Singur in Hooghly district to reach Legislative Assembly in Kolkata to protest against the hike in fuel prices. On his way, he was joined by Kalyan Ghosh, TMC legislator from Domjur in Howrah, which is around 20 kilometres from the state legislative assembly.
The Congress was also not left behind. Young Congress leaders staged a protest in front of Raj Bhavan in Kolkata dragging a motorcycle with ropes.
“Ultimately, the citizens are facing the heat of a hike in fuel prices. I would urge the centre to roll back the process. The state government should also think about the VAT which they are imposing,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha.
This comes just three days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee attacked PM Modi saying that the PM should sometimes talk about fuel prices, vaccines and dumping of bodies of Covid-19 victims in the river in his Mann ki Baat.
“The centre has collected revenue of ₹3.71 lakh crores from oil and petroleum products in the financial year 2020-21. After collecting this huge sum, he is sitting silently, sometimes preaching on Mann ki Baat. Sometimes he should also talk about petrol, diesel, vaccines and dead bodies being dumped in rivers in Uttar Pradesh in his Mann ki Baat. Only then the people would be ensured that their PM is thinking about them,” Banerjee said while talking to reporters after placing the state budget on Wednesday.
On July 5, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to slash taxes on fuel.
The BJP, however, said that the prices of fuel is linked to the international market and won’t come down because of protests by TMC leaders in the state.
“The BJP has been staging protests, both inside the state legislative assembly and on the streets, on several issues. Now, the TMC also wants to do something and have hence started protests. But fuel prices never went down because of protests. It is linked to the international market. We also want to know what the TMC has to say about post-poll violence and vaccine scams,” said Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president.