Former chief minister and newly appointed Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Virbhadra Singh today appealed the Centre to reconsider the move of hike in price of Diesel and capping of LPG refills.
In a letter addressed to UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, Singh said the hike in diesel price and capping of LPG refills should be reconsidered in case of Himachal being a special category state. Due to cold climatic conditions and resolute will of the people to protect the forests, the LPG cap should be atleast 12 for Himachal, he said. He said Himachal had scant railway network and only means of communication are roads and hike in diesel prices in the state would increase the cost of living and inflation and would have cascading effect on prices of all commodities.
Maintaining that the recent hike in the price of Diesel had become unavoidable due to consistent rise in international oil prices and mounting under-recoveries of the oil companies, he said, it would hit the people of Himachal worst of all since they were totally dependent on road transport for all their needs and pleaded for cutting down the diesel prices. Singh said that the green forests of Himachal were the lungs of the country preserving the pristine Himalayan ecology and conserving the environment and the then Congress Government headed by him was the first in the country to ban the felling of green trees in the state 1986.
Since then Fuel-wood has been systematically replaced by other alternate sources of energy and LPG being the most popular and environment friendly was being used for cooking, he added. Keeping in view the need to protect and expand the green cover, the Gas agencies have been opened in all parts of the state even in backward and remote areas to promote the use of LPG and also ensure their availability but the recent decision to curtail the number of subsidised LPG cylinder to 6 in a year, will not only hit the economy of the poor state people but also prove a major setback to our endeavors to save the forests. At the same time, Singh also asked the Himachal Government to reduce sales tax and VAT on Diesel.
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