Jaya slams govt for partial diesel decontrol
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Friday slammed the Congress-led UPA government for its recent partial deregulation of diesel prices which has resulted in “dual pricing,” urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to revoke it immediately.
The Centre’s failure to do so will “constrain” the State to move the Supreme Court on the issue, she asserted.
She said making up for under-recoveries in the diesel price by the public sector oil marketing companies (OMC) has brought in dual pricing.
One is for the retailers/individuals filling diesel at the pumps who now face a staggering increase of about 55 paise per month, but bulk users, particularly State Transport Corporations (STC) ferrying the masses, have become ineligible for the subsidy and should therefore pay Rs 11 per litre as a result.
Calling it yet another “short-sighted measure by the Centre”, Jayalalitha, in a letter to Singh, has said it was “shocking” and bound to further increase the “burden and misery” of the common people.
“I am aghast at the callous attitude of the Central Government which pays only lip service to protecting the ‘aam aadmi’, but rains one blow after another on them,” the AIADMK leader said in a strongly-worded communication to the prime minister, copies of which were released to media here.
This “dual pricing” of diesel would only further strain the “very precarious financial situation” of STUs in States like Tamil Nadu. She said: “Our state transport undertakings are forced to suffer an increased burden of Rs 750 crore in their fuel bill per annum,” just on account of this latest Rs 11 per litre hike in the diesel price for bulk consumers.
Emphasising that STCs daily ferry millions of poor and middle class passengers to their work place, Jayalalitha said it was not feasible for state governments to hike bus fares to absorb this continuously increasing cost in the price of diesel.
“World over, public transportation is subsidised in the interest of the larger public good,” she pointed out. Hence, it was equally the Centre’s duty to “share the burden of subsidy” to provide affordable public transportation facilities to the common people in the country, she said. Given that the “pricing policies” of the Central Oil companies were far from transparent, Jayalalitha wondered whether there was any justification at all for “the partial decontrol of retail diesel prices and the huge increase in the price for bulk consumers.” On the contrary, even in normal marketing practice, “it is the bulk consumers who enjoy discounts,” she said.
In a separate statement, Jayalalitha assured people of Tamil Nadu that there will not be any hikes in bus fares for now.