Govt being insensitive to woes of people: Cong on LPG price hike

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New Delhi, Dec 16 (PTI) Hitting out at the government over the rise in cost of domestic cooking gas, the Congress on Wednesday accused it of being insensitive to the woes of the common people and demanded an immediate rollback of the hike in price of LPG cylinders.

Cooking gas LPG price on Wednesday was increased by Rs 50 per cylinder, the second hike in rate this month following firming of international prices.

Non-subsidised LPG price was increased to Rs 694 per 14.2-kg cylinder from Rs 644 earlier, according to a price notification of state fuel marketing companies.

Using the hashtag 'LPGPriceHike', Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, 'Attack on 'Annapurna' (the Hindu goddess of food) along with 'Annadata' (farmers), and how much more will you render the country helpless.' Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala slammed the government over the issue, saying the 'profit-seeking BJP government was assaulting the budget of the common man'.

Taking a swipe at the government, he said in 'these acche din (good days)' the price of LPG gas without any subsidy has been raised twice by Rs 100 in the past 15 days.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate at a press conference termed the LPG price hike as 'extremely unfortunate'.

In the last 15 days, the price of LPG cylinders has gone up by Rs 100 per cylinder. This has not just upset the monthly budget of families but has also brought about a huge pain for the middle class, for the poor, for the lower-middle class, who are finding it extremely difficult to buy gas cylinders, she said.

Shrinate alleged that non-subsidised LPG cylinders were sold for Rs 574, today they are being sold for Rs 694.

'This government has raised prices of petrol and diesel. There is huge taxation there. This government in its tenure so far and its first and second tenure has increased excise duty almost a dozen times and has earned about Rs 22 lakh crore,' she claimed.

'It is time you (government) bring some relief to the common man, because the common man today is reeling under economic slowdown, joblessness, wage cuts and your mismanagement of the Indian economy during the lockdown,' Shrinate said.

This is 'extremely unfortunate and insensitive, and this also reflects complete lack of economic management', she said.

Shrinate said that 'anybody who understands economics will understand and will know that to spur up consumption, you will have to lower prices, especially in an economy like ours where consumption forms 60 per cent of our GDP'.

'If you do not spur consumption, no economy can recover, we are already in a recession. So we will urge and hope that the government will respond to the needs of the common man, to the needs of the poor people, to the needs of the women, who have to manage their kitchens, and roll back the LPG price hikes that has happened because Rs 100 per cylinder is a very-very steep hike,' she said.

Shrinate asked the government to provide some respite and said this will only happen if the Centre rolls back the hike in prices of LPG cylinders.

'Instead of pasting your pictures all over the country, and tom-tomming what great things you have done which in reality are turning out to be nothing but boastful claims. Please, bring some respite for the common man,' she said, alleging that the government will only earn profits and not share the burden of the common man.

This is the second increase in LPG rate this month. On December 1, price was hiked by a similar Rs 50 per cylinder.

Prior to that, the price had remained unchanged at Rs 594 a cylinder since July. This was the same rate at which subsidised LPG refills are also sold.

Since May, most cooking gas customers have not received subsidies as the combination of international oil price collapse and domestic refill rate increases brought parity between subsidised and market rates. PTI SKC SKC ANB ANB