HPCC President Virbhadra Singh has urged the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to review and reconsider the recent hike in prices of Diesel and limiting the number of subsidized LPG cylinders to 6 and requested for giving respite to Himachal Pradesh being a special category State. He has stressed upon the UPA Chairperson to suitably cut down the hike in the price of Diesel and increase the number of subsidized LPG cylinders to domestic consumers from proposed 6 cylinders to at least 12 cylinders in a year.
In a letter addressed to UPA Chairperson, he said that Himachal Pradesh was predominantly a hill State where Roads were the only means of communication in absence of Railways, Water and Air transport. Most of the transportation is through roads, which were aptly called the life lines of development and all socio-economic activities.
He said that although 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, it would hit the people of Himachal Pradesh worst of all since they were totally dependent on road transport for all their needs. He said that the hike in the price of Diesel would have a spiraling effect on prices of all commodities and transport facilities in the State and pleaded to cut down the hike or minimize it by allowing special subsidy on it to Himachal Pradesh.
Virbhadra Singh said that the green forests of Himachal Pradesh were the lungs of the country preserving the pristine Himalayan ecology and conserving the environment. Congress Government 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 cooking and energy, LPG being the most popular and environment friendly. 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. The recent decision to curtail the number of subsidized LPG cylinder to 6 in a year, will not only hit the economy of the poor state people but will also adversely affect the endeavours’ to preserve Green Cover in the State, he said.
He further added that Himachal Pradesh had voluntarily given up exploitation of its forest wealth estimated at more than Rs. 1.5 lac crores in national interest and emphasized to increase the number of subsidized LPG cylinders to domestic consumers from 6 to at least 12 in a year.
At the same time, HPCC President has also asked the Himachal Pradesh Government reduce sales tax and VAT on Diesel. The state govt. was already charging a higher tax of 20% on Diesel.