BHUBANESWAR: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today gave a call for a five hour hartal across Odisha tomorrow to protest the steep hike in the price of petrol and diesel despite a slide in crude oil price in the international market. The hartal will be observed from 7am to 12 noon while hospitals and medicine shops have been kept out its purview.
This was announced at a media conference here by BJD vice-president and spokesperson Prasanna Kumar Acharya, vice-president and minister for planning and convergence Usha Devi, general secretary Sanjay Dasburma and vice-president of Biju Mahila Janata Dal and minister of state for handlooms, textiles and handicrafts Snehangini Chhuria.
“The hartal will be observed in a complete non-violent manner from 7am to 12 noon. I request people from all walks of life, government employees and workers of other political parties to support the hartal to make it a success,” Dasburma said.
Apart from the state capital of Bhubaneswar, party workers and supporters would stage peaceful agitation in all district, sub-division and block headquarters. Demonstrations will also be held infront of offices of the Central government, the BJD leaders said adding the agitation will continue till the Centre reduced fuel prices.
While the international crude price had fallen, the NDA government has failed to take steps to reduce the price of petrol and diesel, Acharya said and added that VAT on petrol in BJP ruled states is more than what is imposed in Odisha. While VAT on petrol and diesel is 26 percent in Odisha, it 32.07 percent in Maharashtra, 33 percent in Uttar Pradesh, 35.9 percent in Uttarakhand, 32.71 percent in Rajasthan and 34.7 percent in Jharkhand.
Stating that frequent increase in fuel price had adverse impact on the common people, the BJD leaders said fuel price hike would have a cascading effect on the prices of essential commodities. The BJD leaders also criticised withdrawal of subsidy on cooking gas and described it as a anti-people decision of the Centre.
The BJD leaders said the Odisha government has waived VAT on domestic LPG cylinders from June 28, 2011. Stating 5 percent GST has been imposed on LPG cylinders as per decision of the GST Council, the BJD leaders demandd withdrawal of GST on LPG cylinders. BJD general secretary Pranab Prakash Das and secretary Bijay Nayak were present.