PDP Takes LPG Crisis To Streets

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Omar First CM To Welcome Anti-People Decisions: Mehbooba

Srinagar – Days after the National Conference-led coalition government ruled out any relief on cooking gas, Peoples Democratic Party activists led by its president, Mehbooba Mufti, took to streets Saturday to protest the 6-cylinder per household per year cap on LPG. 

With senior leaders, Tariq Hameed Karrah, Qazi Muhammad Afzal and Muhammad Dilawar Mir, in tow, she marched from party headquarters to Residency Road, where a large contingent of police stopped them from moving beyond Regal Chowk towards Lal Chowk.

Raising slogans against LPG cap, hundreds of party workers staged a sit in and demonstrated in the Regal Chowk. They were shouting slogans: “Jab Se NC government aayee hai, tab se mehangayee  chhayee hai.”

Addressing the activists, Mehbooba said the cap on LPG had come at time when common man was living under the vicious impact of inflation. “An ordinary person is having tough time combating inflation and now with LPG prices getting doubled, the backbone of common people has been broken,” she said.

She lambasted the Omar-led government for not increasing the cap from the state budget quota. “Omar was the first chief minister to welcome the centre’s anti-people decisions, whether it was increase in diesel prices, FDI in retail or cap on subsidized LPG, but when it comes to sharing the burden of common people, he says no funds are available,” added Mehbooba.

“If the government of India provides six cylinders on subsidized rates, the state government should provide subsidy to six more from the state’s exchequer to ease the sufferings of common people,” she said. 

She expressed disappointment over the finance minister, Abdul Rahim Rather’s statement in the Legislative Assembly. “Rather Saheb says the government will have to cut pensionary benefits extended to widows and orphans if it increases the cap on subsidized LPG cylinder. I wonder this government has enough money for lavish spending by its ministers. National Conference should not befool people by its lame excuses as the party shares power with Congress and can easily convince the centre to increase the cap on LPG subsidized cylinders,” she said. 

Without naming anyone, Mehbooba said ministers in the ruling combine were neck deep in corruption with hundreds of crores of rupees being spent to construct or buy palatial houses from the airport to Dubai. “When it comes to providing the much-needed relief to people, they offer the excuse of paucity of resources,” she said.

Mehbooba said she failed to understand as to why state government was reluctant to increase the cap. “The Congress-ruled states have already increased the cap on subsidized LPG but Jammu and Kashmir, where the party calls the shots, is an exception.” She said many families were on the brink of starvation due to non-availability of cooking gas.

She said needs of Jammu and Kashmir were different from the other parts of India as the state, particularly the valley, suffered from locational disadvantages. “LPG in this part of the world is not only used for cooking but for heating, lighting and survival as well, more so during winter. It is the only alternative available when there is scarcity of electricity.”

Expressing anguish at women waiting in queues for hours to get their LPG documentation done, Mehbooba said most of them returned home empty.  She asked the government to make the LPG documentation process easy and to increase the subsidy cap to 12 cylinders per household.

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