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Fuel hike rocks Indian parliament

Publication Date : 05-03-2013


The recent hike in fuel price in India once again rocked both Houses of Parliament yesterday, as opposition members created an uproar on the issue and demanded an immediate rollback of last Friday's increase in petrol price.

The opposition members’ vociferous and sustained protests forced repeated adjournments of the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and the Rajya Sabha (Upper House), which eventually were adjourned without transacting any business.         

The agitated MPs said the March 1 announcement of a hike in petrol price by at least 1.40 rupees amounted to insulting Parliament, as it was done without informing the in-session House.

The minister of state for parliamentary affairs, Rajiv Shukla, denied the charge, telling the Rajya Sabha that the petrol hike decision was taken by oil marketing companies (OMCs) and not by the government, since petrol prices had already been deregulated. Deciding prices was the prerogative of OMCs, in accordance with fluctuating global rates of crude oil. This, however, failed to pacify the opposition, which countered that the OMCs are State-run firms and thus the government could not shun its accountability in the matter.

In both the Houses, the disruption of proceedings started right from the moment they met this morning.  A number of parties aggressively protested the fuel price hike.

The members from arch rivals, the Left and Trinamul, were seen competing with each other in raising anti-government slogans.

Seeking to corner the government over the March 1 petrol price hike, the Left demanded an immediate discussion on the issue as soon as the Lok Sabha met.

The Communist Party of Inia-Marxist leader Basudeb Acharia demanded that the Speaker consider his notice and suspend the Question Hour. This was, however, rejected by the Speaker Meira Kumar. The Lok Sabha was forced to be adjourned twice until 2 pm before being adjourned for the day. The Rajya Sabha witnessed four adjournments on the issue until 3pm before being adjourned.

*US$1=54.7 rupees


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