Saturday, March 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hike in LPG, kerosene prices likely

NEW DELHI, March 17 (UNI) — The government is expected to take a decision by the next week on the upward revision of the prices of LPG and kerosene.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Ram Naik today said the government would have announced the decision in the just-concluded Budget session of Parliament, but could not do so because Parliament work was repeatedly stalled. Besides, the Prime Minister was away from the country for a few days.

The minister told a private TV channel in an interview that the upward revision would be necessary since the world crude oil prices are soaring up and consequently the deficit in the oil pool account is also mounting.

At present the subsidy on every cylinder of LPG is Rs 142 and on a litre of kerosene Rs 7.87. If the prices are not revised the oil pool deficit would increase further, the minister pointed out.Back


TMC, ADMK back Congress

PONDICHERRY, March 17 (PTI, UNI) — The Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) today extended support to the Congress for the formation of an alternative government in Pondicherry but the Lt-Governor apparently is in no hurry, maintaining that the assembly was the right forum to prove the majority of the DMK government which was reduced to a minority yesterday.

The Congress Legislature Party leader, Mr V. Vaithialingam, met the Lt-Governor, Ms Rajni Rai, and handed over a letter from the seven-member TMC, which had withdrawn support to the DMK yesterday, backing the eight-member Congress claim to form the government.

He told reporters that he had given the TMC’s letter to Ms Rai, who had forwarded it to the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan.

Claiming the support of 20 members in the 33-member assembly, Mr Vaithialingam said the government should ask the Chief Minister, Mr R. V. Janakiraman, to resign and invite him to form the government.

The Chief Minister told reporters that he would prove majority on the floor of the House when it meets on March 24 for the budget session.

The Lt-Governor told reporters that she would go by the rule book before taking a decision on the Congress claim.

She said she had received letters from the TMC and CPI extending support to the Congress government and that the government was in a minority.

However, she believed that the assembly was the right place to prove the majority of any government.

In the Pondicherry Assembly, the DMK has 10 members and has the declared support of the PMK (2), JD-U (1) and an Independent.

On the opposition side, the Congress has eight, TMC seven, AIADMK three, CPI one and an Independent.

The Chief Minister, who was scheduled to meet the DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr M. Karunanidhi, at Chennai today, said the latter had given an appointment only for tomorrow. The next course of action would be decided after the meeting with Mr Karunanidhi.

He said the withdrawal of support by the TMC was expected since it had already severed its ties with the DMK in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, the PCC President, Mr P. Shanmugham, and Mr Vaithilingam urged the Lt-Governor to take a final decision on the issue within 24 hours.

They told newsmen that a final decision should be taken within 24 hours and the assembly convened at a short notice by Monday next.

TIRUCHIRAPALLI: The AIADMK supremo, Mr J. Jayalalitha, on Friday announced that her party would extend unconditional support to the TMC and the Congress if they came forward to form an alternative government in Pondicherry.

Addressing a press conference here, she said the AIADMK was not thinking in terms of securing berths in a future government at present.Back

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