Students stage protest against massive fuel price hike in Bangladesh
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Dhaka: Students from various educational institutions here in the Bangladeshi capital on Monday staged demonstrations protesting the massive hike in fuel prices across the country, according to a media report.

The government on August 5 raised the price of diesel and kerosene by 42.5 per cent and petrol and octane by 51.1 per cent and 51.7 per cent respectively. The fuel price increase led to a hike in public transport fares.

The demands of demonstrators at Nilkhet intersection included the lowering of fuel prices to their previous rates within 48 hours, cancelling the hike in transport fares, and ensuring half fare for students in public transport, the United News of Bangladesh news agency reported.

Anarchy is going on in the name of fares in the public transport sector. It has to be stopped. Commuters have to pay two to three times more than the previously fixed fare due to the unbearable condition created by the transport owners,” Ismail Samrat, chief coordinator of the Seven College Movement, said.

The protestors also joined another demonstration called by the left-leaning alliances against Sunday’s police attack on their procession against the fuel price hike.

Meanwhile, a Supreme Court lawyer on Monday filed a petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the government’s decision to increase the fuel price.

Advocate Md Eunus Ali Akond in his public interest litigation sought a stay on the government notification issued over the fuel price hike, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported.

He said the government has “unreasonably” increased the price of fuel products without holding any public hearing and without soliciting the opinion from the people, which is a violation of law and the constitution.

The lawyer said only Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) could increase the prices of petroleum products after soliciting opinions from people by holding mass hearings under the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Act, 2003, adding that the government did not have the mandate to do so.

Therefore, the notification needs to be scrapped, he argued in his petition.

Bangladesh, which is reeling under economic uncertainty, on July 24 formally requested a USD 4.5 billion loan from the Washington-based multilateral lender IMF to combat the ongoing financial crisis in the country.

The country asked for a loan from the International Monetary Fund in view of rapidly declining foreign exchange (Forex) reserves, owing to steeping inflation due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

In South Asia, Sri Lanka, facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, is currently in negotiations for an IMF bailout.

The island nation ran out of foreign currency to import, even its most vital essentials, triggering long queues at petrol stations, food shortages, and lengthy power cuts.

Pakistan, whose foreign exchange reserves are rapidly depleting, reached an agreement with the IMF earlier this month to pave the way for the release of an additional USD 1.2 billion in loans and unlock more funding.

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