Odisha’s ruling BJD targets Modi Govt over LPG price hike

Centre hikes cooking gas prices by almost 3 times in past 8-9 years, causing pain to every household in Odisha. Why state BJP silent?: BJD

Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP Government against the Centre’s decision to hike LPG price by Rs 50 in the country.

Addressing a press conference here today, BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik recalled PM Modi’s famous slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ before the BJP came in power in 2014 and Centre’s ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ (PMUY).

“We have been supporting Centre’s almost all decisions for implementation of welfare schemes. But, we cannot hold up this LPG price hike decision. PM Modi’s Ujjwala Yojana that aims to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel across the country had touched hearts of all the political parties. Through the scheme, he had brought a reform on distribution of gas cylinders in poor households. After achieving a milestone, the price hike in LPG has disappointed every household,” Patnaik said.

Earlier, only 21 lakh households were the consumers having LPG connection. But with implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana introduced by Modi Government, the number of households increased to more than 88 lakh, nearly four times higher. Earlier, only 20% houses had gas connection, whereas the percentage now has risen to 80%. The scheme had influenced almost all households deeply, the BJD stated.

In 2014, the LPG price was Rs 410. With hike in the LPG price by Rs 50, now it costs more than Rs 1100. The price rose by three fold in past 8-9 years putting additional burden on common people, Patnaik said.

The senior party leader criticised the Centre for its decision to close Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), under which the poor beneficiaries were provided additional 5kg free rice per person apart from 5kg rice under National Food Security Act (NFSA).

“Before the LPG hike decision, the Modi Govt had taken another decision, which was opposed by the BJD and the party had made its statement clear. Keeping inconveniences in mind during Covid pandemic, there was a provision for providing additional 5kg free rice to poor beneficiaries under the PDS system. But, the scheme has been shut from January 1 this year. Seems like PM Modi does not want welfare of poor people. He cut down 5kg rice. A poor beneficiary, who has been struggling to manage with remaining Rs 5kg rice in a month, is now facing a tougher time to cook that rice with LPG, which price has rose by Rs 50,” Patnaik said.

“What the message PM Modi is sending by reducing rice and increasing LPG price for poor people? The BJD strongly opposes this anti-poor policy of the Central Government. Surprisingly, the state BJP is silent on the LPG price hike. The habit of maintaining silence on important issues has become a weapon for the national party in the state,” he said.

When asked whether the BJD will launch a massive agitation against Centre’s decision over LPG price hike, he said, “BJD itself is a ‘Mass Movement’. We are in every household and in everyone’s heart. This has been proved through the elections. The protest does not mean we will hit streets holding banners and raising slogans. As the party exists everywhere in the state, the movement is in every household,” he added.

BJD Spokesperson Shreemayee Mishra was also present at the press meet.

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