Protests in Orissa over fuel price hike

Bhubaneswar, June 26 (IANS) Members of Orissa’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Saturday staged protests at various places in the state against the fuel price hike, saying it would ‘bring a lot of hardship to the people’.

While the BJD members staged protests inside the assembly, party workers and leaders staged a march in Bhubaneswar shouting slogans against the central government’s decision.

Soon after question hour ended, BJD members created pandemonium in the state assembly demanding a discussion on the issue. More then 30 members of the party walked out of the house and sat near the Gandhi statue inside the assembly premise shouting slogans against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The central government Friday ended government curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. The price of diesel went up by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder. Petrol will now be costlier by Rs 3.50 a litre.

Hundreds of activists of the party’s student wing also staged a march raising slogans and burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The BJD workers and leaders also staged a protest near the Raj Bhavan – the official residence of the state governor M.C. Bhandare.

‘We submitted a memorandum to the governor demanding an immediate roll back of the price hike,’ Narendra Swain, BJD general secretary told IANS. He said similar protests were held across the state.

‘The fuel price hike will certainly bring a lot of hardship to the people in general,’ Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also the chief of the BJD told reporters.

Hundreds of workers of the Communist Party of India (CPI) staged a demonstration in front of the office of the Bharat Petroleum at Cuttack, 26 km from here.

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