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Tamil Nadu - Udhagamandalam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Fuel price hike puts residents in a fix

D. Radhakrishnan

-Photo:M. Sathyamoorthy

Queen of fixes: LPG consumers queuing up in front of a gas agency in Ooty on Wednesday to update their family cards.

Udhagamandalam: They can't afford it. At the same time they can't do without it. Many in this hill station now find themselves in this Catch- 22 situation consequent to the steep hike in the prices of LPG.

Being a place with peculiar weather conditions, dependence on different forms of fuel for various purposes, including cooking and heating, are much more than in the plains. Hence, it is very difficult to avoid using gas and kerosene.

However, with the rate per cylinder rising sharply and kerosene not easy to obtain apart from becoming costlier, the middle class and those belonging to the economically weaker sections of the society are in a dilemma.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, residents representing a cross-section of the society lamented “as it is, compared to the plains the cost of living is high in this cold and hilly district and we fear that it will go up further owing to the hike in the prices of the petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG.”

Enjoyable task

Stating that shopping, particularly for essential items, used to be an enjoyable chore until a few years ago even inside the highly congested and poorly maintained municipal market here, they regretted that, of late, it has become something to dread since “we are not sure how far our rupee will go.” Pointing out that many of the essential items and vegetables have to be brought here from the plains and the transport charges are invariably passed on to the consumers, they said that the latest hike in the fuel prices will hit them badly.

Even the motorists are worried. On the one hand, they have to visit fuel stations frequently because the mileage was poor due to the hilly terrain and on the other they have to shell out more for petrol and diesel. The hike is bound to have a cascading effect. It is just a matter of time before it reflects in autorickshaw and taxi fares. Eating out is also expected to become costlier.

Stating that the monthly planning for many families will be thrown out of gear, the president, Coonoor Merchants Association, R. Parameswaran, said that every time a hike comes into force neither the transport operators nor the traders will be affected because the additional burden will be passed on to the consumers.

Since this district is dependent on the plains for many things, the people here are pushed into an unenviable position as a major contributory factor for the high prices of various items was the cost of transport.

Green campaigners feared that the fuel price hike will increase pressure on the woods. The district administration has also asked all family card holders to record details pertaining to their gas connections in their cards.

The move was to prevent families with two connections from purchasing kerosene from public distribution system outlets.

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