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Tripura Left Front protests fuel price hike
AGARTALA, JUL 2 (IANS/Agencies):
Published on 3 Jul. 2009 12:33 AM IST
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Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Thursday demanded that the central government immediately withdraw the hike in petrol and diesel prices while the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) announced mass demonstrations Friday to protest the hike. Petroleum Minister Murli Deora Wednesday announced a hike of Rs.4 per litre for petrol and of Rs.2 for diesel. “Was petroleum price hike in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 100-day programme?” asked Sarkar, who is also a CPI-M politburo member. Sarkar said people are reeling under a heavy price rise of essential items and the fuel price hike would further increase the burden on the common men. State Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury said the hike in price of petroleum products has shown the electorate how the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government would run the country. “The UPA government had reduced the prices of petroleum products before the Lok Sabha election just to influence the electors and their anti-people attitude has once again been exposed when they increased the prices of fuel within a month of assuming office,” Chowdhury added. The state committee of the CPI-M, the dominant party of the ruling Left Front, has also decided to organise protest demonstrations across the state Friday against the price rise. “The UPA government can reduce custom and excise duty to balance the marginal price hike of petroleum products in the international market,” said Gautam Das, CPI-M spokesman. Tripura demands 10% of total Central taxes for NE Tripura government has demanded to augment the sharing calculation for Northeastern states in general as part of devolution of resources along with increasing the share of Central taxes by at least up to 50 per cent to all the states, stated a UNI report. Talking to mediapersons here on Thursday state Finance Minister Badal Choudhury said he had reiterated the demand of increase of the flow of Central taxes for Northeastern states by at least up to 10 per cent of total collection instead of existing 5.3 per cent during his meeting with Chairman of 13th Finance Commission Vijay L Kelkar on June 29. ‘’Out of the Central tax share flow of 5.3 per cent, Assam alone has been allocated 3.2 per cent while the other seven states, including Sikkim and Tripura, are disbursed the rest 2.1 per cent and as a result, it becomes hard for us to manage,’’ Choudhury said. Referring to the long-standing demand of the states for increasing share of Central taxes up to 50 per cent, which now is only 30.5 per cent, Mr Choudhury said during the discussion he also suggested to distribute at least 33 per cent of the total tax collection among the states initially and increase it every year till it reaches 50 per cent. ‘’We have also demanded additional fund of Rs 22,000 crore to implement the Sixth Central Pay Commission for state government employees with effect from January 1, 2006, and to bear the employees salary expenditure, including for Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) employees, because our ADC is unique, spread over the entire state, not a district only, and covers about 70 per cent of total geography,’’ Choudhury said. Tripura had also demanded Rs 2511 crore as pre-devolution gap grant, including Rs 343 crore for state specific needs for maintenance and upgradation of infrastructure, he pointed out, adding the meeting was the follow up of the state’s demand placed before the Finance Commission in February.

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