Thiruvananthapuram: Bringing some relief to
people hit by petrol price hike, the Congress-led UDF
government in Kerala on Friday decided to forgo the additional
tax accruing to the state exchequer from the latest increase.
The measure, announced by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in
the Assembly, will reduce the petrol price in the state by 37
paise per litre from the Rs 1.82 hiked through yesterday`s
decision by the oil companies.
The Assembly also unanimously adopted a government
resolution urging the Centre to take back the powers given to
the oil companies to determine petroleum prices.
Meanwhile, transport sector unions affiliated to Left
parties called for a dawn-to-dusk motor strike in the state
tomorrow demanding roll back of the hike.
The resolution was adopted by the House after a three-hour
discussion on an adjournment motion moved by opposition LDF.
Moving the LDF resolution, former Finance Minister T M
Thomas Isaac (CPI-M) made a scathing attack on the UPA
government for repeatedly increasing petroleum prices and
making people`s life miserable at a time when inflationary
pressure was unbearable.
Isaac alleged frequent price hikes were meant to bring
"undue" benefits to big corporates which had entered the oil
sector in a big way.
The House, however, rejected the LDF resolution after
putting it to vote but adopted unanimously the resolution
moved by Chandy which wanted the Centre to re-introduce the
government regulated system of determining petroleum prices.
Cutting across party divide, members from both sides
expressed concern over the adverse impact of frequent
petroleum price hikes on the price situation in a consumer
state like Kerala.
The ruling side, however, sought to deflect the opposition
criticism arguing that when LDF was in power it never gave up
the additional tax as the present government had done after
it came to power in May. The Opposition wanted the resolution
to urge the Centre to roll back the latest hike.
Winding up the discussion, Chandy said the UDF government
was doing whatever possible within its limits by waving the
additional tax to bring some relief to the people.
This was the third time that the UDF government was
relinquishing additional revenue from the petroleum price
increase since it came to power in May.