The Congress said today it would launch a nationwide agitation against the "draconian" increase in central excise duty on petrol and diesel, alleging it has led to a steep hike in their prices. The agitation will begin by starting a signature campaign at petrol pumps from September 17 and launching a big protest on September 20 in the national Capital.
Fearing the three-year high in the prices of these fuels, consumers believe that the concept of market-determined rates was tampered with by frequent tax hikes when the crude oil prices fell steeply and are ruling at exactly half the level of United States dollars 107 per barrel in May 2014, even after rising in the last three months.
Summary: Another party member DP Maur said the government must roll back the hike in the petrol and diesel prices. The party said that the worldwide crude rates were low but the government has increased the fuel rates by levying the massive central excise duties and other taxes. He alleged that at the cost of the pockets of the common man the Modi government is filling its treasure chest. "We will request the people arriving at petrol pumps to buy fuel to sign on our paper to protest against the Centre", a senior congress leader said. "The prices of petrol and diesel have come down in Pakistan, the USA and other countries, but they continue to increase in India", he said.
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"The way prices are rising and taxes are being imposed on petroleum products and other things and the economy is still going down, it puts a question mark on the working of this government", he said. "There has also been an increase in Value Added Tax of 73.34 per cent on petrol and 91.31 per cent on diesel since May 2014 by the Delhi government", he added. The prices of subsidised LPG cylinder was raised by 75 Rs and kerosene prices too have grown in double digits throughout this fiscal year, he added.
"While the Modi government has spelled out absurd reasons like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma for the increase in petrol and diesel prices, it has dealt a devastating blow to the savings of the common people by brazenly increasing central excise duty 11 times in the past three and half years", Maken told the media here. "While global crude oil prices have come down by more than 52 per cent since the Narendra Modi government came to power, petrol prices have touched a three-year high".
The Congress, which had paid dearly for first reducing the number of domestic LPG cylinders per family per year from 12 to 9 and later restoring it to 12, further said that the centre's decision to hike price of such fuel by Rs 4 per month from July this year has adversely affected around 18.11 crore customers.