Youth Akali Dal president and Punjab Minister for Revenue and Rehabilitation Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia said here today led a massive protest by YAD workers against what he described as “shocking, scandalous and utterly untenable” hike in the price of diesel and restrictions placed on the use of LPG cylinders for domestic use to just six per family per year. The protest was aimed at highlighting the widespread public outrage against the UPA government’s decisions which “would set off further inflationary forces that would be hard to control. It would also cause an across the board a back-breaking rise in the prices of all essential commodities.” The YAD declared that “the decision would seriously imbalance the entire economy, as much of the mobility of trade and commerce is diesel driven. Thus, magnitude and implications of this hike expose the duplicity of UPA claims on reviving the economy. It also is a tell-tale evidence how much the UPA is hand in glove with oil companies, out to enrich them and making the common man foot the bill for this enrichment.It was a sea of youth drawn from all sections from all across the state. After a stirring speech by the YAD leader at the Sector 28 here, the youth surged towards the nearly by crossing that links Panchkula with the City Beautiful to organize dharna. Later, the YAD chief submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Punjab against the UPA government’s decisions. The YAD memorandum was originally in Punjabi language with a translation in English. The Memorandum said that During the UPA regime, During the UPA regime, the prices of petrol went up from Rs. 37.84 during NDA regime to Rs. 73.14 per liter during UPA period. In the same comparative periods, the diesel prices went up from Rs. 26.28 to Rs. 45.32 per liter. Similarly the price of LPG Cylinder went up from Rs. 281.60 to Rs. 750, Milk which is so essential for the common man has also seen and increase in price from Rs. 15 to Rs. 36 per kg. Similarly prices of pulses short up from Rs. 23 to Rs. 60 per kg, the memorandum said. “The farming community has been the worst sufferer during the UPA regime a part from the phenomenal rise in the price of diesel, DAP prices also short up from Rs. 388 to Rs. 1210 per bag.” “It is against this back ground the present hike in the diesel is hurting the common man. The decision on diesel price hike “comes at a time when the beleaguered people of country are already reeling under the impact of an unprecedented inflation. The decision also comes at the top of a series of similar hikes in the prices of petroleum products already announced by the Government of India in recent months. Intriguingly, these hikes coincide with a drop in the prices of crude oil in the international market. The Shiromani Akali Dal as well as all the leading political parties, including some constituents of the ruling UPA at the centre have rejected and disassociated themselves from the latest hike, describing it as “shocking and scandalous” said the Memorandum.In his speech, laced with comparative data of the prices of essential commodities during the NDA and the UPA tenures, Mr. Majithia lashed out at the present regime describing it as “the fountainhead of corruption of stunning proportions.” Slamming the Congress Government he said that the way this government has increased prices if diesel and LPG despite a reduction in international crude prices, it is clear case of being hand in glove with the “petroleum mafia”. Coming down heavily on UPA Government, Mr. Majithia said that they would not allow this government to loot the common man. The UPA government has lost the confidence of the common man and has failed miserably on all fronts. Rampant theftin and loot of the pubic exchequer is leading the country to bankruptcy. “People have lost faith in the government and governance has hit rock bottom under the UPA” said Mr. Majithia.He said the UPA government and its ministers have become “servants of the wealthy”. The unprecedented hike would affect all section of the society who are already reeling under high prices of essential commodities. He said that it is surprising that when international prices of crude oil decrease, the benefits are never passed on to the consumers but whenever there is even a marginal increase in price of crude oil; the common man is burdened without any delay. Comparing rate of the inflation Mr. Majithia said that during NDA led BJP government it was 3.77% which has now touched 8.83% and is still increasing. During NDA’s tenure in 2003 the cost of petrol, diesel and LPG were Rs. 32.70, Rs. 20.73 and Rs. 241.60 and now petrol is Rs. 76.57 per litre where as diesel & LPG now cost Rs. 45.97 and Rs. 700 respectivly. The rates of all the essential commodities like sugar, pulses, wheat, milk products, tea and other household items have also increased from 150% to 250% had made the life of a common man miserable.He condemned the latest hike in diesel prices as also the limit imposed on the use of LPG cylinders for domestic use.The YAD chief demanded the immediate roll back of both decisions. The following is a copy of the Memorandum submitted by the YAD chief to the Governor.