Fuel price hikes ‘new example of forced extortion’: Sonia Gandhi

Cheryl Sanders
June 30, 2020

The Indian Oil Corporation had previously informed that diesel prices went past petrol because of Value-Added Tax imposed by the Delhi government.

Even now, global oil prices are more than 40 per cent lower than the January levels but retail prices of petrol and diesel have overshot the January levels, much to the discomfort of the consumers who are already bearing the brunt of the economic crisis with salary cuts or job losses or severe squeezing of business operations.

Since 2014, she claimed, the government raised excise duty 12 times and garnered an additional revenue of almost ₹18 lakh crore.

Industry analysts understood well that an increase in petroleum product prices was inevitable, but they believe the government should have lowered the petroleum levy.

Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot led a protest against the Centre over the "unprecedented" hike in petrol and diesel prices and said it has hammered the people at the time of economic hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other opposition parties have also been staging protests against rising fuel prices in different states. This government has set a new example of extortion from the people by way of unfair fuel price hikes.

On Thursday, Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav rode bicycles along with party workers in Patna city to protest the huge increase in the prices of petrol and diesel.

A litre of petrol in Delhi remains ₹80.43 per litre while the rate of diesel is 10 paise more at ₹80.53. While the price of diesel has gone up Rs 11 per litre, petrol has increased by Rs 9.12 per litre, she said.

Defying social distancing and wearing of masks, hundreds of Karnataka Congress leaders and cadres took out a cycle rally in the city against steep hike in petrol and diesel prices by the Central government.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices have settled lower as new coronavirus cases spiked in the United States and China, and on growing concerns about rising USA output ticking up while crude stockpiles sat at record highs, reported Reuters. "This is not just unfair but also insensitive as it directly hurting the farmers, the poor, the working class, the middle class and small businessmen", Gandhi said the immediate rollback of hikes in prices as also of excise duty on petrol and diesel since March this year and pass on the benefits to the people.

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