Agartala: Sudden hike in the price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), used as a clean fuel for vehicles, and Piped Natural Gas (PNG), used as cooking energy have triggered a serious reaction in the auto-rickshaw workers as well as in daily commuters of Tripura who threatened to go for an indefinite strike unless government roll back the decision.
The auto-rickshaw workers union Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangha (BMS) belongs to the ruling BJP, CITU of opposition CPM, and INTUC of Congress separately protested the price hike of CNG and PNG and sought immediate response from the state government.
Tripura Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (TNGCL) with the approval of the state government in a notification on October 1 increased the price of CNG by Rs 9.30 per kg and PNG by Rs 4.90 for each Standard Cubic Meter (SCM) with immediate effect hiked the price of CNG in Agartala Rs 77.30 and Rs 81.30 per kg outside Agartala while PNG price increased to Rs 38.40 SCM from Rs 33.
This is for the second time in six months TNGCL hiked the price of CNG and PNG. In April this year, the CNG price was increased to Rs 68 from Rs 60, and PNG price was increased to Rs 33.50 from Rs 28. TNGCL claimed that the Tripura government levied Tripura Road Development CESS of
19.50 percent in August last from only two percent compelled them to increase the price.
Since the CNG price hike came into effect on the first day of Durga Puja, the auto-rickshaw fare has been increased to double across the state which irked the commuters. The city witnessed a series of agitation, blockade, and chaos over a week but the state government has not yet responded to the demand of rolling back the price and withdrawing the CESS.
“The price hike of CNG directly affected as many as 20,000 people dependent on CNG-based vehicles. And, the rise of PNG prices is going to adversely impact 50,400 families who have pipeline gas connections to their kitchen,” said senior CPM leader Pabitra Kar adding that the BJP government has always been shifting the financial burden on the common people without making any effort to increase the state’s revenue and bring grants from the center.
He pointed out that when BJP led government came to power in March 2018 the price of CNG was Rs 41 per Kg, which in four and half years increased almost double. Similarly, the price inflation of all consumer goods, edibles, and vegetables has increased manifold but, the income of the people remained the same during BJP’s rule, Kar added.