Raising a hue and cry over the increase in the value- added tax (VAT) on fuel, announced by the state government on Monday, petrol pump owners rued that the price of diesel has increased by around Rs 7 per litre during the last week and its price on Tuesday — Rs 69.54 per litre — hit an all-time high in the past seven decades.
Ruing that the price of petrol increased by Rs 1.03 per litre and that of diesel by Rs 1.47 on Tuesday, members of the Ludhiana Petrol Pump Dealers Association are contemplating to launch an agitation against the government. Prices of petrol and diesel on Tuesday were Rs 78.40 and Rs 69.54 per litre respectively.
President of the Ludhiana Petrol Pump Dealers Association, Ranjit Singh Gandhi, said, “The government did not even provide relief when crude oil prices were at an all-time low during lockdown. It is a two-fold blow to petrol pump owners as the demand is already low due to lockdown and, with this increase in the price, the neighbouring states with low rates, will attract more customers. Both Union and state governments are not paying heed to the problem being faced a common man, but the government is interested in only collecting taxes.”
Gandhi said petrol pump owners are contemplating to launch an agitation in the coming days in association with industry and transport sectors.
“At a time when the government should provide essentials to residents at low rates, the government has increased the prices of fuel, which would result in inflation due to rise in the transportation cost,” said Gandhi.
Chairman of the association Ashok Sachdeva said, “The sector has already been hit hard due to lockdown since March and the announcement of weekend lockdown now has added to their woes, as sales have gone down to around 10-15% on weekends. The government needs to review its policy as a common man needs a relief at this time of crisis.”
‘DOUBLE WHAMMY’ FOR TRANSPORTERS
Reeling under losses due to low demand, transporters rued that the government has added to their woes by increasing the price of diesel by Rs 10 per litre during the lockdown period.
President of the Ludhiana Goods Transport Association Didar Singh said, “The demand is low as the factories are not being run at full capacity and we are also facing shortage of labour. It is a double whammy for the transporters as we had to reduce the transportation charges/fare due to low demand and competition in the market, but the input cost is increasing every day.”