Chandigarh: The ShiromAkali Dal (SAD) on Saturday asked both the Central government and the Congress government in the state to reduce petrol and diesel prices with immediate effect to give relief to the common man from the unbearable astronomical hikes in petroleum products this year.
“Petrol and diesel prices had been increased by 24 times in 2021 itself and petrol and diesel prices had been hiked by Rs 6.87 per litre and Rs 7.10 per litre in the last fifty days alone,” Former Minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said in a statement.
He said this had been done despite the fact that global crude prices had gone down in the last one week with crude presently trading at 63 dollars per barrel.
Stating that the situation warranted an urgent intervention from the highest level, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Cheema said it was extremely worrisome that petrol and diesel prices were being hiked despite the fact that the prices had been de-regulated and were dependent on international prices.
“It is not justified to burden the common man in this manner. The unprecedented rise in fuel prices will have a devastating impact on the economy, which is still recovering from the COVID-19 induced crisis. Prices of essential commodities have already gone up and the situation could become worse in the coming days”, the SAD leader added.
Asserting that it was the duty of the state government also to give relief to its citizens, Cheema said: “In Punjab VAT on petrol was as Rs 19.72 per litre amounting to 27.26 per cent. Similarly, the state VAT on diesel was Rs 12.41 per litre amounting to 17.53 per cent.”
“While petrol was being sold at Rs 91.47 per litre in Punjab, diesel was being sold at Rs 82.60 per litre,” he added.
Asking Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to act immediately without further ado, the Akali leader said the Congress government should affect Rs 10 per litre cut in petrol and diesel prices immediately by reducing VAT correspondingly.
“We will take up this issue in the budget session also. Every section of society in Punjab is suffering be it from massive power tariff hikes or lack of distribution of social welfare benefits. Now the steep hike in petroleum products is causing more misery to the people. The Congress government must address this situation immediately or be ready to face the public outcry. The SAD will also take up this issue in its forthcoming core committee meeting and come up with a public programme to force the centre and state governments to roll back fuel prices”, Dr Cheema added.