Bharat Bandh against fuel price hike evokes mixed response in Telangana
HYDERABAD: The day-long bandh call given by Congress and Left parties against the soaring fuel prices had little effect in the city where it was business as usual. Though protests took place at different places in the city, there were no reports of any untoward incidents and the bandh was peaceful. In districts too, there was a mixed response with bus services being hit at most places.
Reiterating their stand, TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy said that Telangana was the only state in the country that was levying 35 per cent VAT on petrol and 25 per cent VAT on diesel, putting common man under severe hardships.
The bandh was not supported by the TRS and all government offices commercials establishment were seen functioning during the day. Petrol bunks were also operational in the city. Transport officials also confirmed that there was no disruption of services and buses were plying as usual.
Though there was no official communication from the School Education department, Telangana Recognised School Management Association (TRSMA) lent support to the bandh. However it left the decision to function or declare holiday on individual school managements. “A majority of our schools in the city and across the State were shut as we are supporting the bandh,” said S Madhusudhan Reddy, treasurer TRSMA.
Meanwhile, wary of any untoward incident, Osmania University postponed its pre-PhD examination from Monday to Tuesday. In the Old City, business in the first half of the day was slow. Though shops were open, business took up slightly towards late afternoon.
Will bring petrol under GST: Congress
Terming the success of the state-wide bandh against the hike in petrol price as the “peoples’ victory”, Telangana Congress affairs in-charge Rama Chandra Khuntia said that the Congress would come to power at the Centre and bring petrol and diesel under the purview of GST.
Speaking to mediapersons at Gandhi Bhavan on Monday along with PCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy, party senior leaders K Jana Reddy, Shabbir Ali and Madhu Yashki Goud, Khuntia recalled that when the barrel of crude oil price was 107 US dollars in May 2014, the price of petrol was `71.41 and the price of diesel was `55.49 in the country.
When the crude oil price was dropped to 73 US dollars this month, the petrol price rose to `79.51 and diesel to `71.55 in the country.
PCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that the VAT on petrol and diesel was the highest in Telangana. The VAT was 28 per cent on petrol and 18 per cent on diesel in Karnataka, but in Telangana it was 35 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
How bandh affected districts in Telangana
In erstwhile Khammam and Warangal districts, the bandh was near total. Barring a few, most shopping complexes, petrol bunks, educational institutions were closed. Many Congress, Left leaders were detained
RTC services were also affected as the agitators obstructed buses at depots. Of the total 539 buses in Khammam, 341 buses were pressed into service, resulting in losses worth around `20 - `30 lakh. Coal production was hit as employees in Yellandu, Kothagudem stayed
As a mark of protest, MP Renuka Chowdary and MLC Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy travelled on bullock cart in Khammam
In Warangal, police arrested agitators who tried to stop RTC buses from leaving the depots, but by 3 pm shops and petrol bunks opened up
In Karimnagar, Adilabad, bandh evoked a mixed response. While the central government offices, banks and RTC buses were operational, educational institutions remained closed. Petrol bunks also stayed closed till afternoon
Nizamabad, Medak and Mahbubnagar witnessed similar scenes and the bandh was peaceful despite protests and Congress leaders being taken into preventive custody