Demonstration against price hike, demand cut in VAT on petroleum products in Manipur

Members of various civil society organisations on Saturday staged a demonstration in Imphal West district against rising prices of essential commodities and demanded that the government rolls back the hike.

The Public Meeting Cum Mass Demonstration Demanding to Cut the Price Hike was held at Awang Khunou of Imphal West district.

It was organised by Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) in association with Sagoltongba Greatstar Club, Salam Chaokhat Khongthang Nupi Lup, Community Network for Positive Women Ukhrul, Kuki Women Union, Sagolsem Pukhri Mapan Women Development Association and Village Women Coordinating Committee.

Leaders of the civil society organisations who spoke at the public meeting said that the majority of the people of the country are suffering to the limit of their woes with the increase of prices of the essential commodities since the imposition of lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020.

In the state, too, poor people, particularly daily wage earners, have been struggling to afford their daily needs after their entire economic activities were put on halt due to the lockdown for nearly a year. People below the poverty line who are the majority in the state too are the most suffered section of the society due to the lockdown, they expressed.

While the people are suffering a lot, prices of petroleum products — petrol, diesel and LPG cooking gas — have increased many folds. This has led to the hiking of the prices of other essential commodities.
“The Centre hiked the prices of the petroleum products and others to recover the lost economy of the country. But it severely hit the poor people of the society. This is a violation of Right to Life guaranteed under the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution”, one of the speakers alleged.

Meanwhile, the hike in the prices of fuel led to the increase in the fare of the public transportation. This has directly hit students and people dependent on public transport for their daily work.

At the concluding part of the public meeting, it was resolved to press the state government by way of submitting a memorandum to the state Governor and the chief minister to draw their attention towards measures to check the ever-increasing prices of the essential commodities. They further decided to demand cuts in the VAT, reviving and strengthening the price fixation committee of the state, distribute food free of cost or at lower prices while recognising the suffering of the poor section of the society as well as respecting their right to life.


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