15 BJP lawmakers held in Bangalore for forcing shutdown

Last Updated 05 July 2010, 15:12 IST

Among the prominent legislators who were taken into custody were C.T. Ravi, Berur Gopalakrishna and former minister Shoba Karndlaje, who represents the Yeshwantpur assembly segment in north Bangalore and P.C. Ravi, who represents Bangalore Central in the Lok Sabha.

"We have rounded up about 150 protesters at Basweshwaranagar for gathering at a public place and forcing the people to participate in the shutdown by abstaining from work and closing commercial establishments," a police official told IANS.

Though the first BJP government in the state did not officially support the shutdown, its education department advised government and aided schools to close for the day as a precautionary measure under discretion.

The shutdown evoked partial response across the state with reports of sporadic incidents in Mysore, Hubli, Gulbarga, Mangalore and Belgaum, where state-run buses were stoned and passenger trains were blocked from chugging out of stations.

A series of stone-throwing incidents forced the state-run KSRTC and BMTC to suspend bus services across the state and Bangalore for the day, affecting normal life and causing hardship to thousands of commuters who were left stranded.

Train services to and from Bangalore were, however, not affected by the shutdown, but a number of flights were either delayed or curtailed due to non-arrival of inbound aircraft from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

The monsoon session of the state legislature witnessed uproarious scenes earlier in the day when about 100 BJP members raised slogans against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and disrupted the proceedings.

Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah adjourned the session for the day when the ruling party legislators rushed towards his podium carrying placards against the central government and refused to allow even the question hour to proceed.

Leader of the opposition Congress Siddaramaiah, who vehemently objected to the BJP lawmakers disrupting the house, challenged the state government to lower the sales tax and other levies imposed on petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas.

"Prices of petroleum products in Bangalore and Karnataka are the highest in the country because state taxes levied on them are also highest. Instead of protesting against the hike in fuel rates, the government should lower the sales tax, value added tax and entry tax," Siddaramaiah said.

With around 33 percent state levies, petrol is priced at Rs.58-59 per litre across the state, diesel at Rs.42-43 per litre, kerosene at Rs.12-13 per litre and cooking gas at Rs.360 per cylinder. The retail prices include central taxes in the form of excise duty and cess.

"Around 59 percent of the retail price in Bangalore and Karnataka are central and state levies in the form of sales tax, entry tax, excise duty and cess, making the cost of petrol highest in the country," a top official of state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) told IANS.
In the case of diesel, 37 percent of the retail price in Bangalore account for central and state levies.

(Published 05 July 2010, 15:12 IST)

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