Left parties call nationwide protest against price rise 

NEW DELHI, 15 May: Left parties have called a nationwide protest against the rising prices of essential commodities and unemployment from 25-31 May.

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, the left parties directed their units across the country to coordinate this united and concerted nationwide struggle against price rise and unemployment.

“Unabated galloping price rise is imposing unprecedented burdens on the people. Crores are suffering and are pushed into deeper poverty with growing hunger pangs. Coming on top of unprecedented and growing levels of unemployment, this is compounding people’s miseries,” the statement said.

The left parties said that, over the last year, the prices of petroleum products have increased by 70 percent, vegetables by 20 percent, cooking oil by 23 percent and cereals by 8 percent. “Wheat, the staple diet of crores of Indians, is seeing a price rise of over 14 percent, making it unaffordable. Wheat procurement has declined. Central government has procured less than half of last year. This year procurement will not cross 20 metric tonnes as against the target of 44.4 metric tonnes.

“The continuous hike in prices of petroleum products and cooking gas cylinders and the acute shortage of wheat is propelling this overall inflation. The reported coal shortages are pushing up the cost of electricity,” the statement said.

The statement has been signed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja, All India Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas, Revolutionary Socialist Party general secretary Manoj Bhattacharya, and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation Dipankar Bhattacharya.

The parties demanded that the central government immediately withdraw all cess/surcharges on all petroleum products and roll back price hikes, particularly of cooking gas cylinders. They also said that wheat supplies through the public distribution system (PDS) must be restored and the PDS must be strengthened to check this price rise, according to the statement.

The parties further asked the Centre to increase direct cash transfer to Rs 7,500 per month to all non-income tax paying families, enhance MGNREGS allocation, legislate central scheme for unemployment allowance, legislate an employment guarantee scheme for urban areas, and fill up all vacant posts, it said. (PTI)