Bengal Congress for lowering fertiliser, LPG prices

Kolkata, Oct 16 (IANS) Admitting that high fertiliser prices and cap on subsidised cooking gas cylinders were affecting the common people, the West Bengal Congress Tuesday said it will ask the central government to lower the prices.

"Be it the fertiliser prices or the cooking gas, the hike surely has affected the common man and so we have decided to urge the central government to lower the prices," state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya told reporters here.

"Although we have not decided as of yet regarding by how much the prices and by when those should be reduced, I am sure the centre will pay heed to our request," said Bhattacharya.

The party, however, rejected claims that the move has come in view of the forthcoming panchayat (village local body) elections.

"Fertiliser prices may be an issue in the panchayat polls, but cooking gas cannot be an issue to bother people in the villages. Only 18 percent of the entire state population has LPG," said Bhattacharya.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre has capped the availability of subsidised cooking gas cylinders to six per family per year.

Addressing the media after the extended state executive committee meeting, Bhattacharya said the party has resolved to intensify its movement against the 'multiple failures' of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in the state.

"Due to the ineffective administration, the political situation in the state is deteriorating steadily. There are increased instances of law and order violations manifesting the governance deficit," added Bhattacharya.

The party also demanded that the Banerjee government immediately acquire land for the AIIMS-like hospital in North Dinajpur district's Raiganj area. The project has been in limbo over land acquisition issues.

Despite allocation of money in the union budget for such a healthcare facility at Raiganj, the Banerjee government has suggested Kalyani in Nadia district as the venue saying farmers were unwilling to hand over land in Raiganj.

Political observers, however, feel that Banerjee's regime was blocking the project at Raiganj as its Congress Lok Sabha member Deepa Dasmunshi was a bete noire of the Trinamool chief.