Thiruvananthapuram: CPI-M-led LDF Opposition Monday staged a walkout in the Assembly accusing the UDF Government of taking lightly the severe hardship caused to people by LPG price hike and insistence on Aadhaar-linkage of subsidised cooking gas for household consumers.
Leading his colleagues out after Speaker G. Karthikeyan turned down the demand for an adjournment on the issue, Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan accused the State and Central governments of colluding with petroleum companies to “plunder common man’’.
Countering the Opposition charge, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the State Government was against frequent hike in subsidised LPG and sought suspension of direct subsidy transfer for another six months as only 57 per cent of domestic consumers had achieved ‘Aadhaar-linkage’ of their bank accounts.
This demand had been directly conveyed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to the state the other day, he said.
Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob said that the disruption in delivery of LPG to domestic consumers over confusion in prices had been resolved and the supply had regained normalcy.
Seeking leave for the motion at the outset, former Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac (CPI-M) said that the steep increase in non-subsidised LPG would hit common man also as hoteliers would be increasing the price of eatables and autorickshaws running on LPG will be forced to hike the fares.
Isaac said that the frequent hike being effected in LPG and petroleum prices was part of a “clandestine strategy” of the Centre to take away the subsidy step by step. The State Government was turning a blind eye to this move ignoring its adverse fallout on common man, he said.
The Opposition members also rose in protest and moved towards the well of the House for a while when the Civil Supplies Minister was replying to the notice.