Bhubaneswar: When the BJP is attacking the BJD Government over Minister Naba Kisore Das murder case and arrest of its young wing activists, the Governing Party on Thursday slammed the BJP-led Centre over hike in LPG cooking gas prices.
Addressing a press conference here this morning, senior BJD Lawmaker Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said, “We have been supporting Centre’s almost all decisions for implementation of welfare schemes. But we will not support this LPG price hike decision.”
The Centre brought in Ujjwala Yojana to provide subsidized cylinders with intent that women of Odisha and India will not have tears in their eyes due to the earlier smoke of firewood, he said.
But the rapid hiking of LPG cooking gas prices by them has brought tears not only to the eyes of the mothers and sisters of Odisha but today the kitchen in households of Odisha is also in tears, bringing them great pain and hardship, Patnaik said.
While rising prices of essential commodities, fuel and inflation are causing great pain to the 4.5 crore people of Odisha, the Centre does not seem serious about reducing the price of LPG cooking gas, he stated.
The price of one domestic LPG cylinder (14.2 kg cylinder) in March, 2014 was Rs. 410 which has now become Rs. 1103 as on 1st March, 2023 with the Centre making a further hike with effect from 1st March, 2023, the BJD leader pointed out.
“The price of one LPG cylinder has been increased by almost 3 times in the past 9 years by the Centre. Can you imagine 3 times in 9 years?,” he asked.
Shri Patnaik further said this steep rise has caused great pain and anguish to the lakhs of mothers and sisters of Odisha and to the lakhs of Kitchens of Odisha. On one hand, the Centre speaks about cheaper cooking gas and on the other hand they are hiking the cooking gas prices so high.
Due to such steep hiking of Cooking Gas, lakhs of mothers and sisters of Odisha are unable to refill the gas and are again compelled to return to using firewood.
The Centre stopped the 5 kg free rice per person under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) which was being added to the 5 kg free rice under NFSA. Now by hiking the cooking gas prices by three times in 9 years, they have dealt a double blow on the common man’s kitchen and household, said the BJD leader.
“We are surprised as to why the Odisha BJP is so silent? It seems they are more interested in diverting peoples and women issues. Why are they not wanting to discuss issues like this which affects the common man and woman, his and her kitchen, family, life and livelihood?,” asked the BJD Lawmaker.
Is playing politics all that matters to Odisha BJP and not the tears of the mothers due to the hiking of LPG cooking gas?, he again asked the BJP leaders.
The Governing Biju Janata Dal demanded that the Government of India must take immediate steps in reducing the price of LPG cooking gas. The BJD stands with the people of Odisha and especially the mothers and sisters of Odisha who are facing a tough time in running the kitchen with these escalating prices.
“We hope the Centre will take urgent and immediate steps in this regard and ensure that the common man and especially the mothers and sisters of Odisha are not adversely affected in these troubled times,” said BJD spokesperson Shreemayee Mishra.
She said the BJD also hopes that the Odisha BJP will also break its silence and speak up for such issues that affects the lives of 4.5 crore people of Odisha, and especially severely affects the lakhs of mothers and sisters of Odisha and their kitchens.
Reacting to Shri Patniak’s statement, BJP Chief Whip Mohan Majhi said the LPG price hike is depending on crude oil price in the international market. The present hike is a reflection of the international market price rise, he said.
The Centre was providing additional 5 kg free rice under PMGKAY for Covid-19 pandemic. As the pandemic is over now, the scheme was stopped, Shri Majhi added.
He also said that whether Soumya Patnaik is in the BJD or not, will be known very soon. The BJD is putting words in his mouth to show that Shri Patnaik is with them. But, in reality, he is not with the BJD, claimed the senior BJP Lawmaker.