Shutdown hits Himachal, chief minister walks to office
Shimla, May 31 (IANS) As Himachal Pradesh Thursday observed a statewide shutdown on the increase in petrol prices, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal walked his way to office to protest against the recent hike.
"I prefer to go to the office on foot as a symbolic protest against petrol prices that have gone up massively," Dhumal told reporters here.
Shops and commercial establishments were closed in almost all towns to mark the shutdown called by the National Democratic Alliance and Left parties.
Shops in Solan, Dharamsala, Kangra, Palampur, Mandi, Rampur, Kullu, Manali, Una and Hamirpur also remained closed for half a day. There was no report of violence from anywhere in the state.
In the state capital, over 6,000 shopkeepers kept their shops closed till the afternoon.
"The shutdown was complete in the state," BJP spokesperson Ashok Kapatia told IANS.
Communist Party of India-Marxist activists had set up road blockades at several places, mainly in Shimla, police said.
However, there was also no report of violence from anywhere in the state.
The chief minister said the frequent hike in petrol prices burdened the common man since it led to rise in prices of essential commodities.
Demanding an immediate rollback, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state had already taken effective steps to ensure that rising prices did not affect the common man.
He said value added tax on petroleum products had been reduced substantially.
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