July 17, 2018

Fuel fury at central & state govt

Patna: Residents, hit by skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices, on Monday accused the central and state governments of using petrol and diesel prices for political mileage.

Petrol in Patna now costs Rs 81.73 a litre and diesel Rs 72.24 – following the seventh straight day of price increase since oil PSUs on May 14 resumed daily price revision after a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus.

Patna High Court advocate Subhash Kumar lashed out at the Centre for not passing on the benefits to public when fuel prices fall in the name of long-term benefits. He said: “Such exercises are making the people angry, and NDA governments at the Centre and state should be ready to face the music in the coming Lok Sabha elections.”

The NDA government has raised excise duty nine times from November 2014 to January 2016 to shore up the Centre’s revenues in the wake of sharp falls in global oil prices, but reduced excise duty only once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.

Last Friday, economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg refused to say if the government will cut excise duty on auto fuel to ease the burden on consumers.

Rajani Devi, a Patna homemaker, told The Telegraph: “The costs of transportation and food are rapidly going up because of rising fuel prices that adversely affect household financial management. Our savings have declined considerably but nobody cares.”

At the time when international oil prices were falling, the Centre kept increasing excise duty to increase revenue which now, people claim, will go against the government’s favour.

Excise duty on diesel went up by 330 per cent between October 2013 and Monday (May 21, 2018).

“Our fuel costs have risen heavily, we had to pay Rs 2,000 for 30 litres at one point of time, but now it’s Rs 2,173 for the same quantity,” rued Kishore Kumar, a bus driver at the Gandhi Maidan bus stop. “The government increases the prices on a daily basis but we cannot raise the fares as the passengers would then protest. The situation has become such that we have to think of other means of survival.”

Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, however, described hike in fuel prices as a “temporary phase driven by increase in crude prices in the international market, which should ease out later”.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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