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Oppn slams Yogi over fuel price hike, govt says step needed to cut losses

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 20, 2019  | 22:02 IST

Lucknow, Aug 20 (PTI) Opposition parties including the SP, the BSP and the Congress on Tuesday attacked the Yogi Adityanath government for hiking fuel prices in the state and said that the decision will add to the miseries of the people. Petrol and diesel prices in Uttar Pradesh were hiked by Rs 2.5 and Re 1 respectively from Monday midnight as the government increased Value Added Tax (VAT). The Uttar Pradesh government, however, said that the hike was necessary as the state had suffered a revenue loss of Rs 3000 crore after slashing VAT in October last year. Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati termed increase in petrol and diesel prices as a "cruel step" and asked the government to concentrate on peoples' interest. "The massive increase in the price of petrol and diesel by UP's BJP government is a cruel step which would increase inflation and take the bread out of mouth of crores of poor and middle class families," she tweeted. "It would further increase the misery of the people hit by poor law and order, inflation and unemployment. It is better if the government focusses on public interests," she said. Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav said the decision would put burden on people of the state and would increase their hardships. "Due to the decision, there would be price rise. People who are already facing flood situation will have to bear the rise in prices of essential commodities. Decreasing VAT on fuel before Lok Sabha polls was a gimmick of the BJP government," Akhilesh said. The Congress announced that it will hold statewide protests against the hike on Wednesday. On the directives of party national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congressmen will stage protests at all the district headquarters against the state government's decision to hike VAT on fuel prices, UPCC president Raj Babbar said in a statement. "This will directly hit the lives of poor, farmers, labourers and the Congress party which has been continuously fighting for the interests of deprived sections of society will register their strong protest over this move of the state government on Wednesday," Babbar said. The government, however, clarified that after slashing VAT last year, the state had suffered revenue loss of about Rs 3000 crores. The state government had slashed VAT by Rs 2.5 per litre when the per litre petrol and diesel prices reached Rs 83.35 and Rs 75.64 respectively on October 4, last year and on the same date, the Centre reduced excise duty by Rs 1.5 per litre, while oil companies gave a relief of Rs 1 per litre, Joint Director, Commercial Tax, Manoj Kumar said. The consumers of the state got a relief of Rs 5 per litre starting October 5, last year, he said, adding that slashing VAT resulted in an average revenue loss of Rs 250 crore per month to the state government. So far, the state has suffered a revenue loss of over Rs 3000 crore, Kumar said. In view of decreased crude oil prices in the international market and the resultant drop in basic prices of petrol and diesel, the Centre, in order to increase revenue, raised the additional excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre respectively on July 6 last month. Immediately after, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand also increased VAT rates equivalent to those which were prevailing previously. Tiwari said that the state government has also brought in to force the previously prevalent tax rates with effect from Tuesday. Consequently, per litre price of diesel has gone up by 92 paisa and that of petrol by Rs 2.35 only. Now, per litre price of petrol and diesel are Rs 73.64 and Rs 65.26 respectively in Lucknow, he said. Despite the hike in VAT, petrol is still cheaper by Rs 9.71 and diesel by Rs 10.38 respectively as compared to the price prevalent on October 4, last year when VAT was reduced by the state government, he said justifying the decision. PTI ABN RHL

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