In some relief to the people, the Congress-led UDF Government in Kerala on Thursday waived the additional revenue to be accrued through sales tax from the latest petrol price hike, but opposition LDF and BJP enforced a dawn-to-dusk hartal demanding roll-back of the increase, disrupting normal life across the state.
After a cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the tax waiver would bring the petrol price down by Rs 1.63 per litre in the state.
On earlier occasions when the Centre hiked the prices, the UDF Government had given up the additional income the state exchequer could have received on account of the increase.
"The UDF government does not justify the Centre's decision to increase price. But our way of expressing our resentment is by bringing some relief to the people," Mr Chandy, while announcing the sop, told reporters.
The state exchequer stands to lose Rs 218 crore because of the decision.
Mr Chandy said he had already urged the Centre to reconsider the hike in view of the difficulties it posed to the people.
The shut-down call, given separately by the CPI(M)-led LDF and BJP affected normal life all through the state with shops remaining closed and buses keeping off the roads.
Schools and colleges went without classes and attendance was thin in government offices and banks. The protest, however, did not affect rail and road traffic.
Barring minor incidents of stone-pelting, no violence was reported from anywhere in the state.
LDF and BJP leaders claimed that the protest call evoked spontaneous response from all sections of society as the latest hike in petrol price was a "cruel blow" to the people from the UPA Government at the Centre.