Maharashtra DyCM seeks Centre's intervention over price rise

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Mumbai, Feb 18 (PTI) In the wake of the rising prices of fuel and other commodities, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said the Centre should intervene at the earliest to give relief to citizens who are facing hardships.

The prices of branded or additive-laced petrol, which attracts higher taxes, have crossed the Rs 100-mark in some places, including Maharashtra.

After Thursday's price rise, petrol in Mumbai costs Rs 96.32 a litre and diesel Rs 87.32.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday blamed output cut by oil-producing nations for the rally in international oil prices that have translated into higher retail rates in India.

Talking to reporters here, Pawar, who is also Maharashtra's finance minister, said prices are going up.

The Centre presented the budget on February 1, and the prices of steel, cement, petrol, diesel, LPG cylinders and even of asphalt are going up, he noted.

'The Centre should intervene at the earliest and bring down the prices...the common man is facing hardships now,' the minister said.

Asked whether the state will give relief to people in the state's budget, to be presented next month, Pawar said he cannot speak on the issue at this juncture.

'We will take a decision after discussing it with the chief minister, cabinet and our colleagues. We will declare it in the Assembly,' Pawar said.

To a query on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari seeking to know from the state government when it plans to hold election for a new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Pawar said the governor has the right to ask about it.

'The cabinet discussed it. The government will reply to him (Koshyari) after discussing it,' the NCP leader said.

The Speaker's post is lying vacant after the incumbent, Nana Patole, resigned earlier this month to take charge as the Maharashtra Congress president.

Pawar said the post of Assembly's Speaker cannot be kept vacant for a long time and the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) wants to fill it, and a discussion is on in this regard.

To a question on the Congress mulling to move court over the 'delay' by Koshyari in the appointment of 12 members to the Legislative Council from the governor's quota, Pawar said names should be declared as the budget session is nearing. PTI ENM GK GK