Gas price decision will hike power tariffs, fertilizer costs: BJP

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) The BJP Friday said that UPA government's decision to double the natural gas prices from April 1, 2014 will lead to increase in power tariffs and fertilizer costs and makes CNG transportation more expensive.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Venkaiah Naidu said that it had been reported that power tariff will go up by Rs.4.70 per unit for gas-based plants and by almost 16 to 25 paise in other cases.

He said the government has also allowed pass-through mechanism for the power sector, providing for passing on to the consumer through tariff hike, any increase in cost due to import of coal.

"The total cost of generation of power will go up to Rs.6.40 per unit which in turn will substantially increase the cost of production of fertilizers. This is totally anti-farmer and anti-people decision," Naidu said in a statement.

Also noting that the mandate of the UPA-II government was only up to 2014, he asked how could an "outgoing" government increase prices of cooking gas for coming three years.

"Who gave them the authority to do so? Even while going also, this government is continuing with its anti-people and anti-farmer polices. The BJP will oppose this decision tooth and nail," he said.

Referring to other decisions of the government, he said increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy was a bare minimum.

"It is just an eye-wash. The mismatch between the MSP and the cost of production is glaring. Costs of all agricultural inputs went up sharply. The government seems to be playing ignorance to the farmers' woes," he said, adding that the hiked MSP does not even cover the cost of production.

Naidu said people were waiting with vengeance to throw this government out at the earliest opportunity.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Friday said the government was forced to almost double the gas prices due to low domestic output and the difficult macroeconomic situation.

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