Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday described the decision of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to decontrol diesel price regime as “shocking and scandalous”.
In a statement here, Badal said that the decision would not only unleash uncontrollable inflationary forces, resulting in an all-round and back-breaking hike in the prices of all essential commodities, but it would also smack of a massive scam.
Badal demanded an immediate withdrawal of the decision. He further said that the hike in prices of diesel as a result of deregulation would seriously retard the already slack pace of economic growth.
“Diesel prices in India are out of sync with the paying capacity of the common man and the new decision would send inflation, already touching double digits, spiralling out of control. The impact on transport sector would mean an escalation in transit costs and therefore a steep jump in overall price-index, he added.
He said the biggest hit of this decision would be taken by the farmers all across the country, especially in Punjab, accustomed as the Punjab farmers are to intensive agriculture.
Already, the UPA had systematically and persistently targeted the farm sector through its decisions affecting subsidies on agricultural inputs like fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides etc. But its latest decision would have the greatest dampening effect on this sector, severely dampening production of all crops, especially food-grains. That in turn would not only push up the food bill of the common man but also seriously endanger food security in the country. This would have a serious impact on the general cost of living, hitting both the producer and the consumer in the country. Diesel was a major input in farm operations. In addition to that, the fuel price hike was also certain to further impact prices of fertilisers, pesticides etc.
The Chief Minister said that he would take up the issue with the centre during his next visit to Delhi. The SAD would also enlist the support of other like-minded parties to put pressure on the government to reverse this decision, said Badal.