The government’s move to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre is like a drop in the ocean as it comes after months of rising fuel prices, the Shiv Sena today said. The Sena used a popular idiom — “oont ke muh me jeera” (a small cumin seed in a camel’s mouth) — to describe the inadequacy of the recent excise duty cut. Bowing to public pressure, the government had on October 3 cut excise duty on fuel to moderate the relentless rise in fuel prices witnessed for the last three months. “While this decision will benefit vehicle owners and common man, it is like ‘oont ke muh me jeera’.
First they raised the prices exponentially and then reduced for namesake when there was commotion everywhere,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Dopahar ka Saamana’. The Sena, an ally of the NDA at the Centre and BJP in Maharashtra, said the step was like a drop of cold water falling on a body in the scorching sun — using yet another idiom to hit out at the government. It also accused the ruling party of not being “mentally prepared” to reduce fuel prices. The petrol price jumped by Rs 7.8 per litre since July 4, while the diesel rates touched an all-time high after rates went up by Rs 5.7.
The government, which had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices, has been criticised for not cutting excise duty despite a sustained rise in fuel prices since early July. The Sena said that the prices of fuel have increased substantially since the present government came to power, despite the fact that the rate of crude oil, which was around USD 100 a barrel initially, has come down considerably.
“Despite the fall in crude oil prices, the rates of petrol and diesel simply did not come down from Rs 80 and Rs 63 respectively. It seems that the Centre and the state governments were just not mentally prepared to reduce the soaring rates,” it said. The government brought ‘acche din’ (good days) for fuel selling companies and bad days prevailed for the common man, said the party.