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CPI(M) asks govt to restore diesel subsidy for bulk consumers

Says at market rate, bulk consumers will have to pay extra Rs 11-12 per litre

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CPI(M) has asked the government to restore the subsidy on diesel to bulk customers like state transport undertakings and railways in public interest, terming as "retrograde" the decision to charge market rate on the item.

"I urge you to reconsider the decision. You are requested to restore the subsidy on diesel to like the State Transport Undertakings which will be in public interest," party General Secretary Prakash Karat said in a recent letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Maintaining that the decision to charge the market rate on diesel for bulk consumers like railways and state transport undertakings would lead them to pay an extra Rs 11-12 per litre, he said this would plunge them into a financial crisis.

"There are reports of State Transport Corporations curtailing their services and reducing the routes on which buses ply. Steps are being taken to increase the bus fares. All this is going to badly affect the common people who use public transportation," Karat said.

This withdrawal of subsidy for the supply of diesel to bulk consumers would "cripple the public transportation system at a time when the necessity is for strengthening the public transportation system."

The CPI(M) leader said the sharp increase in private vehicles and traffic was causing rising pollution and a major environmental problem and the only way out was to restrict the expansion of private vehicle and strengthen public transport.

"Instead of doing that, the government's retrograde decision is a serious blow to public transport and will lead to further privatisation of transport services," Karat said.

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