Strike Over Fuel Prices Cripples India

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In India, demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest rising fuel prices. In New Delhi, the strike has shut down the city. Demonstrators are protesting the government's decision to remove the lid on the price of gas.


NPR's business news starts with protests in India.

(Soundbite of music)

KELLY: Much of India shut down today by a nation-wide strike. It was called by major opposition parties.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from New Delhi that strikers are protesting the government's decision to cut subsidies on fuel.

(Soundbite of crowd chatter)

COREY FLINTOFF: The Indian government removed subsidies on gasoline and other petroleum products last month in a bid to cut back a massive government deficit. The opposition BJP Party called for the 12-hour work stoppage, and it was joined by other opposition parties and the National Truckers Union.

Cities throughout India, especially Mumbai and Kolkata, saw much of their business grind to a halt. In New Delhi, protestors managed to block access to some public transportation, and many schools and businesses closed their doors. This store manager in the heart of New Delhi, who gave his name as Needit(ph), says his business is down sharply today because of a strike. He says he also feels the crunch of fuel prices, but he said the government had no choice.

NEEDIT: It's a global thing, so one has to adjust to it. And the government is doing a lot.

FLINTOFF: Protestors, on the other hand, say the government is trying to solve its deficit problem at the expense of ordinary people.

Unidentified Man: The price hikes are too much, and the common man is no longer is the easily convinced.

FLINTOFF: That protestor says he with the youth division of the BJP. He says strikers will keep up the pressure on the government until the subsidies are restored.

Corey Flintoff, NPR News, New Delhi.

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