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All round resentment to increase in prices of diesel, cooking gas

Coimbatore Bureau

COIMBATORE: The rise in the prices of diesel, LPG and kerosene has set off widespread resentment – from truck operators to industry, with the domestic sector benumbed by the Rs. 50 raise in price of LPG cylinder.

Lorry operators even hinted at a 20 per cent increase in transportation cost, but a decision will be made at the national level in a couple of days.

K.R. Arumugam, president, Coimbatore Lorry Owners Association, said on Saturday that the diesel price had been raised citing the international crude prices, the lorry industry is hit badly.Lorry owners who sign contract for one-year or more for a fixed freight rates are put in a quandary as the frequent and steep raise in prices of diesel takes them by surprise, where revisiting the freight price is almost impossible.

In other cases, where the truck operators fix freight rates depending on the load and distance, there is possibility of revisiting the freight rates.

Burden

But, the ultimate burden gets passed on to the common man, he pointed out as the prices of commodities will go up because of the freight rate. The rise in prices of automobile spare parts and the 68 per cent increase in insurance premium were already having a telling effect on the lorry operators and this diesel price hike will hit them once again.

The All India Motor Transport Congress scheduled to meet in New Delhi in a day or two is likely to take a decision on the future course of action and an indefinite truck strike might become imminent.

K. Mani, president of Coimbatore Tourist, Taxi, Van and Travel Owners Association, says the raise in price of diesel by Rs.3 will affect the tourist cab operators. The business will come down as people would hesitate to hire cabs for tours. Already, the industry was surviving on a meagre margin because of the steep increase in other overheads such as automobile spare parts price, insurance premium.

Inflation had led to increase in salaries of the drivers and maintenance cost of the vehicles had also gone up. Now, the cab operators may have to go in for an increase of 12 per cent to 14 per cent in the charges per km.

Jagan S. Damodarasamy, Executive Director of Annapoorna Group, said the diesel price hike would lead to increase in procurement cost of all commodities for the hotels.

The impact would be felt soon when the raw material suppliers increased the prices. Hotels used commercial LPG cylinders and the cost of these was going up during the last five months. A 17-kg cylinder was not costing about Rs. 1200, he said.

The raise in price of LPG cylinders from Rs. 352.80 to Rs. 402.80 is something that middle income and low income group families just cannot imagine or afford, says Nithya, a homemaker in Ramanathapuram.

Beyond reach

It is said and unfortunate a fuel for cooking food is going beyond the reach of salaried class. LPG is costly, kerosene is not freely available and electricity is erratic to even think of induction stove, under such circumstances what is the alternative energy available for cooking purposes, she wondered.

Radhama, a domestic help, says the Rs. 2 increase in kerosene price will make a big dent in her monthly expenses.

(With inputs from V.S. Palaniappan, M. Soundariya Preetha and Amutha Kannan).

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