SRINAGAR, Feb 27: CPI(M) leader and former MLA, Mohd Yusuf Tarigami said that the relentless increase in the prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and other essential commodities has created havoc for common people who were already burdened by the Covid-19 pandemic woes of joblessness and loss of incomes.
“To add with this the steep hike of 19 percent in passenger fare has a cascading effect on the people already over-burdened by sky-high price rise. These anti-people decisions of the Government are bound to further hit the common man already reeling under price rise and inflation,” he said, in a statement, issued here today.
Tarigami said that the lower and middle income groups are the worst hit by the steep price rises and have pushed them to the brink. “They are faced with the dual burden of depressed wages and rising unemployment on the one hand and price rise of food items and other essential commodities on the other,” he added.
“The Government and the oil companies justify the increase citing the rising global prices of crude oil. This is, however, a specious claim. The single biggest reason for the crushing burden is the exorbitant central taxes on petroleum products. Between 2014-15 and 2021-21, prices of the Indian basket of crude oil (the mix of crude oils that India buys) went up by 17.6 per cent. In the same period, the average retail selling price in India went up by 55.3 per cent for petrol and 72.5 per cent for diesel. It is clear that the retail prices have increased far more than the global price levels,” he explained.
Tarigami stressed that the Government must be compelled to substantially rollback the excise duties and cess on petroleum products. For this, the struggle must be intensified and it should become part of the struggle to defend the livelihoods of the people and their basic rights, he said.