Kashmir shuts on LPG crisis

People Seek Subsidy From JK Government; Street Demos, Stone Pelting In Several Areas

MUKEET AKMALI

Srinagar, Oct 12: Responding to the call by the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, Kashmir valley witnessed a complete shutdown on Friday against the recently announced cap on subsidized LPG and the state government’s ‘failure’ to provide relief to the people. All shops and other business establishments remained closed while attendance in government offices was thin due to non-availability of public transport.
The Central government has recently imposed a cap on subsidized cooking gas cylinders at six per year. While Congress-ruled States have taken a people-friendly decision and raised the cap to nine cylinders, J&K government has said it has no money to provide relief to the people.
Protests were reported from across the valley against acute shortage of cooking gas as people blocked roads and held demonstrations shouting slogans against the state government for its failure to deal with the issue.
Stone pelting incidents were witnessed at Rajouri Kadal, Bohri Kadal and other areas in the Srinagar city after Friday prayers.
Locals blocked roads at Bemina, HMT and Zainakote to protest acute shortage of LPG.
Shouting slogans against the state government, people at Bye-pass here burned tyres and blocked the road.
“State government has failed to provide any relief to common people, we have no other option left than to come on streets and protest,” a protestor said. A police spokesman said people staged protest against the rise in LPG prices and blocked highway at Umarabad today.
“However, police chased them away and restored the traffic on the highway,” the spokesman said.
He said: “Some miscreants pelted stone on passing vehicles and police at Bohri Kadal and Rajouri Kadal in downtown Srinagar. Police exercising maximum restrain chased them away. No one was hurt in the incident.”
The Kashmir Economic Alliance - an amalgam of traders, hoteliers, etc- Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir (FCIK) and various organizations including Kashmir High Court Bar Association had supported the strike call.
Trade bodies organized protest rallies at different district headquarters urging state government to increase the cap on subsidized cylinders from six to 12.
In Islamabad (Anantnag), amid complete shutdown, protests demonstrations were held against the cap on subsidized LPG cylinders.
Islamabad Traders Association held a protest demonstration against the government’s failure on the issue. Carrying placards, the traders sought increase in gas subsidy. “People in Kashmir have to often spend the chilly winter without electricity and now they won’t be able to use LPG,” a protestor said.
In Sopore, traders took out a protest rally from Jamia Masjid against the state government.
In Baramulla, people held protest demonstrations at many places to protest non-availability of cooking gas. Beopar Mandal Baramulla urged the State government to increase gas subsidy and give relaxation of at least four months in the verification procedure of documents.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Yaseen Khan, president, KTMF reiterated: “We will continue to fight till the artificial scarcity of cooking gas is overcome.”
Minister for Revenue, Raman Bhalla, told Greater Kashmir that he discussed the LPG crisis with Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and impressed upon him that Jammu and Kashmir should be given a relaxation.
“I told the Home Minister that J&K has a different topography and climate and being a cold region the state should be given relaxation,” Bhalla said. He said the Home Minister gave a patient hearing to him.
LPG crisis had dominated the proceedings of the just-concluded autumn session of the state legislature where opposition parties demanded that state government should increase the subsidy on gas.
The government responded by saying that increasing the LPG cap would put enormous strain on the financial resources of the State.
Traders and civil society groups argue that if State government can raise the perks of legislators, why it was shying away from spending few crores on increasing the subsidized quota of LPG cylinders.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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