Congress legislators cycling to state assembly in Bhubaneswar. (Photo@bhalubh55)
Congress legislators cycling to state assembly in Bhubaneswar. (Photo@bhalubh55)

Odisha Congress MLAs cycle to state assembly in protest against fuel prices

The price of petrol is currently the highest in Kalimela of Malkangiri, where it is being sold at 97.45 per litre. In Bhubaneswar, it is being sold at 91.64 per litre.
By Debabrata Mohanty, Hindusan Times, Bhubaneswar
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 06:04 PM IST

Congress legislators in Odisha on Tuesday rode bicycles to the state assembly protesting against the rising fuel prices and demanded that the state government slash taxes on petrol and diesel, much like Chhattisgarh and Bengal have.

The price of petrol is currently the highest in Kalimela of Malkangiri, where it is being sold at 97.45 per litre. In Bhubaneswar, it is being sold at 91.64 per litre.

Jeypore MLA Tara Bahinipati and Khariar MLA Adhiraj Panigrahi rode cycles from Congress Bhawan to the state assembly where the budget session is on. Similarly, Jatni MLA Suresh Routray too rode the bicycle.

“Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have reduced the prices. Why shouldn’t Naveen Patnaik in Odisha? Is he bearing the cost from his own pocket?... We are protesting this way to show the CM and PM Modi how the price hike in petrol and diesel rates is affecting the common man. We demand both Centre and state to slash the fuel price,” said Bahinipati.

Bahinipati said the Central and the Odisha government are equally responsible for the fuel price hike. "Both the governments lack humanity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created ‘Bure Din’ for the citizens instead of ‘Acche Din’ promised by him earlier. Everyday, prices of petrol and diesel continue to witness a hike. It is burning a hole in the pockets of the common man. Both, state and Centre should immediately reduce taxes and provide relief to the people,” added Bahinipati.

Fuel prices, which vary from state to state depending on local sales tax or VAT, are now at record highs in the country, prompting cries for a cut in excise duty to ease the burden on consumers.

Congress MLA Adhiraj Panigrahi said, “Oil price rise has affected all sections of people. I appeal to the members of BJP and BJD, including chief minister Naveen Patnaik, to use cycles to understand the problems of the common man.”

Yesterday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, reminded people that crude oil prices have not risen but fallen, and accused the Modi government of emptying the pockets of the common man to fill the pockets of its friends for free.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the steep rise in petrol prices is a vexatious issue and referred to the various aspects involved in the pricing.

The Centre and States, Sitharaman said, need to work together and figure out a way to keep the retail prices at a reasonable level.

State-owned fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) — had on January 6 resumed daily price revision after nearly a month-long hiatus.

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