Odisha Congress workers hold protest asking government to roll back fuel prices

Odisha Congress members announced that they would hold a two-day protest on Monday and Tuesday against the BJP-led government’s unfair fuel price policy. The party workers enraged over the “unprecedented” increase in prices of petrol and diesel, decided to stage demonstrations against the central government’s offices in Bhuvneshwar.

A senior party leader, Suresh Kumar Routray said, “We demand an immediate rollback of the hike in prices of petrol and diesel.” He added that the party workers would hold protests in all district and block headquarters on Tuesday.

The protest, led by state Congress President Niranjan Patnaik, was a quiet sit-in near Raj Bhavan. As part of the protest, party members also sent a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to attend to the matter and order for a quick rollback of the hike in fuel price for the welfare of the general public, who already were struggling financially due to the pandemic and the lockdown.

The memorandum highlighted how the prime minister Narendra Modi’s government increased the fuel prices in the last three-and-a-half months alone, by Rs 26.48 per litre in case of diesel and Rs 21.50 per litre for petrol. “As the country faces unprecedented health and economic pandemic, the Modi government is profiteering from the misery of the people by repeatedly increasing prices as also excise duty on petrol and diesel,” it said.

Congress workers slammed Modi government for setting a record price rise that the country ever witnessed in the last 70 years, as diesel and petrol prices went up 21 times in the last 22 days in a row.

Referring to the “unjust” price hike, Patnaik said, “this is nothing but exploitation of the people who are facing serious financial hardship due to COVID-19 pandemic.” He added that the rise in excise duty on petrol and diesel over the last three months has caused immense pain and added to the suffering of the people.

Last week, senior Congress leader, Veerappa Moily also slammed centre for hiking the fuel prices at frequent intervals. He accused the BJP-led government of fleecing the people especially at the distressing time of COVID-19 pandemic. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic which is creeping day by day and the deflation in the economy, the government is fleecing the people of the country and making them shed tears,” Moily said in a statement.

“It is sadistic on the part of the Modi government to increase the prices of petrol and diesel despite the slump in crude prices at the cost of the sufferings of the people of India,” the former petroleum minister said. “In 16 days, petrol price has been hiked by Rs 8.3 per litre and diesel by Rs 9.46, a record increase in rates of the fuel in any fortnight since pricing was deregulated,” Moily added.

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