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Strikes Over Gas Prices Spread Across India

• The Slatest Edition

Strikes over high prices for gasoline, diesel, and other fuels have spread across India, stopping rail and port traffic in some areas. Flights and buses have been cancelled. Some trains were still running, but those in the financial capital of Mumbai were empty on Monday. Goods weren't moving in and out of ports as truckers joined the strike, parking their rigs to block traffic. "Opposition parties called for the strikes after the government began implementing a roll back in fuel subsidies by lifting state controls on gasoline and other fuels," CNN reported. Television reports showed police using violent methods to break up protests in some cities. Activists have deflated the tires of state-run buses in others. "For the average Indian, the changes are having a real impact," CNN reported. Not only are individuals forced to pay more at the pump, but the higher cost of fuel has raised the price of food and most other consumer goods. "Despite the disruption, the government insisted that it would stand firm on the price increases, saying India can no longer afford its huge fuel subsidy bill," the Financial Times reported. "There is no question of a fuel price rollback," said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Even with the recent price increases taken into consideration, India will spend more than $11 billion this year on fuel subsidies. The country imports about 80 percent of its crude oil.

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