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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bandh a flop in Mumbai, but may hit prices of vegetables

APMC Threatens Indefinite Stir If FDI Not Rolled Back

    The bandh called by the BJP to protest against the diesel price hike and FDI in multi-brand retail had little impact in Mumbai and its neighbouring regions on Thursday as public transport ran as normal and public life largely remained uninterrupted. Among the few places that felt the tremors of the agitation was the APMC market in Vashi, where shopkeepers struck work to express their opposition to the FDI. 
    The wholesale market did not receive essential goods all through Thursday due to the transporters' strike, which coincided with 'Bharat Bandh'. Due to this cut-off in supply, sources said, prices of vegetables, fruit and grains may fluctuate. The distress will be worsened by the transporters' decision to increase freight charges by 15%, which will inflate vegetables' prices by next week. Sanjay Pansare of the APMC threatened the markets may go on an indefinite stir if the FDI 
policy is not rolled back. 
    In Mumbai Metropolitan Region, close to 10,000 shops were shut in support of the bandh, including at Crawford market, Fort, Dadar and Matunga. Crowds on the streets and railway stations too were noticeably less, but that was because Thursday was the second day of Ganeshotsav when families immerse household idols. 
    Among the major parties in the state, the bandh was supported only by the BJP. The Shiv Sena and the MNS stayed away from the stir in view of the ongoing Ganesh festival. Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde participated in a morcha to Mantralaya, where he placed a symbolic lock to condemn the ruling DF government. Munde said the UPA at the Centre and the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra had lost their moral right to continue in office. 

    The Marine Drive police detained eight BJP workers, including Munde, over the protest but released them later. Similarly, 43 people were detained at Mulund and 57 at Malwani but released later. There were small protests in other parts of the city too, including outside a Dadar mall. 
    Terming the bandh in Maharashtra a failure, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre hit out at the BJP for its "duplicity". "During its reign at the Centre, the BJP hiked diesel prices on 11 occasions. The party included FDI in retail reform in its election manifesto. Knowing this, people stayed away from the bandh." Thakre added that non-participation of the Sena and the MNS showed they were in favour of the FDI reform. 


    Oil companies have so far issued no instruction on capping the number of subsidized LPG cylinders per household per year at six 
    The Congress high command on Wednesday asked party-ruled states to raise the ceiling from six to nine. The subsidy for the three additional cylinders will be shouldered by the state government 

Following the directive, the Maharashtra government has set the ball rolling. Its computation shows the subsidy bill will be 2,052 cr 

    Beyond the cap, a consumer will have to pay the actual price of a cylinder, which in Maharashtra is 

    Officials warn that until the cap officially comes into effect dealers cannot deny consumers cylinders nor can they charge anything but the subsidised 
price of 425 
(With inputs from Nitasha Natu & Sandeep Ashar)

CLOSED FOR THE DAY: (Top) Thousands of truckers did not operate on Thursday to protest the diesel price hike; a row of closed stores in Crawford Market


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