The Guardian May 3, 2000


India:
Communists call for rolling back price increase

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) observed a protest day against 
the BJP Government's latest round of price increases all over the country 
on April 17. In New Delhi, five thousand demonstrators marched from Mandi 
House to Patel Chowk to observe the day and called for rolling-back the 
price increase of wheat, rice and sugar in the Public Distribution 
System.

The demonstrators also condemned the increase in the price of fertilisers, 
kerosene and cooking gas.

The price rises are the result of the Government cutting the food and 
fertiliser subsidy.

The demonstration was held on the opening day of the resumed session of 
Parliament which is to pass the Finance Bill. The protest day called for 
cancelling the subsidy cuts.

The cost of wheat and rice in the Public Distribution System has nearly 
doubled due to the budget proposals.

At the rally held at Patel Chowk, the General Secretary of the CPI(M), Shri 
Harkishan Singh Surjeet, condemned the Vajpayee Government for imposing one 
burden after another on the common people of India through price hikes of 
essential commodities.

He said life has become intolerable for the common people and a sustained 
movement should be conducted to force the Government to rescind the 
proposals in the budget to cut the food and fertiliser subsidy.

The increase in the cost of fertilisers and lifting of restrictions on 
imported agricultural commodities will cause a crisis for Indian 
agriculture and harm the farmers.

In Andhra Pradesh, the CPI(M) together with the CPI and seven smaller 
communist and workers' parties called for people to picketed District 
Collectors' offices in protest against the price hike of rice, kerosene, 
LPG and power tariff. They also demanded drought relief measures.

Thousands of people responded and shut down all 23 Collectors' offices. 
Police resorted to lathi [baton] charges in some places and took hundreds 
of picketers into custody.

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India News Network(INN)

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