Opposition Congress-led UDF observed 'black day' on Saturday with protests held against the Left government across Kerala as the state budget's proposal to levy cess on fuel and liquor among other tax hikes came into effect from today.
The opposition front also announced that it would stay away from the anniversary celebrations of the second Pinarayi Vijayan dispensation, which begins today, as part of demonstrations against its various "anti-people" policies along with "unjustified and unscientific" budget proposals.
Wearing black badges and holding black flags in their hands, several UDF activists took out marches in various panchayats and municipalities.
Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan charged that an additional tax burden of Rs 5,000 crore has been imposed upon people because of the "mismanagement" and "negligence" of the state government.
Besides the imposition of the fuel cess, power tariff and water tax have also been increased by the government, making the life of common people miserable, he told reporters in Kochi.
This is for the first time in the history of the state that such a huge tax burden has been imposed upon people, he further alleged. "This is April 1 and the beginning of the new financial year. The implementation of the Rs 5,000 crore tax burden imposed upon the common people by the Pinarayi Vijayan government begins today," he said.
He also said it was an irony that the government begins its anniversary celebrations on the same day when the "unscientific" budget proposals, which will make the life of ordinary people more miserable, gets implemented.
The Congress-led UDF would not cooperate with any of the celebrations, he added. Finance Minister K N Balagopal, in the recent state budget, had proposed a social security cess on sale of petrol and diesel at the rate of Rs 2 per litre to bring in additional revenue of Rs 750 crore.
He had also proposed to levy cess at the rate of Rs 20 for each bottle of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) between the price range of Rs 500 and Rs 999.
Also, cess was levied at the rate of Rs 40 per bottle of IMFL having MRP above Rs 1,000 to garner an additional revenue of Rs 400 crore.