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LPG price hike sparks protests in Kerala

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LPG price hike sparks protests in Kerala
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Thiruvananthapuram: Hike in LPG prices Thursday sparked protests across political divide in Kerala and supply of cooking gas cylinders to domestic consumers disrupted in many parts as agencies suspended deliveries due to 'confusion' regarding the price and Adhaar linking for getting subsidy.

Apart from opposition parties like CPI(M) and CPI, resentment over the issue was voiced by some Congress leaders also, who held that giving free hand to oil companies to determine price of LPG would harm UPA's interests when parliament elections are not far off.

The Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Assoication called for a dawn-to-desk closure of hotels Friday to protest steep hike in unsubsidised LPG connections.

Expressing serious concern over the issue, senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran said the Centre should not have given a free hand to the oil companies on cooking gas price which has a bearing on millions of people.

He wanted the current round of hike to be rolled back and the Centre reconsider taking away from the companies the right to decide on petroleum prices.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had Wednesday conveyed to the Centre the state's concern over the issue.

As a relief to the people, the government decided to forgo the quantum of VAT accruing to the state exchequer on account of the increase in price.

The state had also been allowed two months' grace period for completing Adhaar linking of bank accounts of domestic customers for direct transfer of LPG gas subsidy.

Announcing the shutdown of hotels, Association General Secretary Jose Mohan said in Kochi that the hike would hit the hotel industry hard as even a small restaurant will have to bear a hike of Rs 1200 per day as they require three cyliners for their daily requirement.

An emergency meeting of the association decided to demand immediate withdrawal of the hike. About 1.25 lakh hotels and restaurants in Kerala will remain shut tomorrow as part of the token strike, he said.

PTI

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