All India Kisan Sabha condemns the decision of the Congress-led UPA Government to decontrol diesel prices and allow oil marketing companies to arbitrarily hike prices. This will lead to hike in prices of all essential commodities, increase irrigation costs and costs of transport. The poor, the cultivating peasantry and the masses will be adversely hit by this move. Within no time the oil companies have hiked the price of diesel by 45 paise per litre excluding taxes.
The Indian Oil Corporation has also announced that subsidies will no longer be available to bulk diesel consumers and the prices will be determined by the market forces. This implies an increase by Rs.9.25 Ps per litre excluding taxes. The effective hike of around Rs.10.80 Ps a litre for bulk diesel consumers like railways, transport undertakings, power sector and many other sectors will only spark off an overall hike in transportation costs, costs of power generation and in many other sectors. Already the rail fares have been hiked and the Railways has immediately claimed that this move will lead to an additional 30 percent increase in fuel costs or effectively an annual burden of Rs.2700 crores. Oil companies are seeking to bring Indian diesel prices at par with international prices. This betrays logic as India imports crude oil which is then refined here. There is no way that this price can be at par with global price of diesel.
The oil marketing companies have also raised the price of the domestic non-subsidised LPG cylinder by Rs. 46.50 paise. While the demand has been to remove the unjustified cap on number of cylinders for domestic use, the Government has capped it at 9 cylinders per year. The cost of the subsidised cylinders will be Rs.410.50 Ps while a non-subsidised cylinder will cost not less than Rs.942. The move will only further burden the common masses. AIKS demands the withdrawal of the decision to cap subsidised cylinders for domestic use.
Deregulation in petrol and fertilisers in the recent past have led to an arbitrary and uncontrolled rise in prices of petrol and fertilisers. The present decision will ensure that this would be the order of the day for diesel also from now on. Irrigation costs for the peasantry will only keep rising. The prices of gas cylinders for domestic use will also see a similar trend. This Government which has been resorting to farcical “cash transfers” by resorting to deregulation is actually transferring people’s money into the pockets of profiteering private companies. On the pretext of cutting down fiscal deficit it is doing away with subsidies which provided some relief to the poor even as massive tax concessions are being given to the rich and the corporate sector.
AIKS calls upon all State Units to hold massive protests against these anti-people moves.
Press Statement, 19th January, 2013.