Fuel pump owners in Punjab today called off their five-day long hunger strike after the state government assured them that it would look into their demands, including rationalisation of VAT on petrol and diesel. State Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi met the agitating fuel pump dealers on behalf of the Punjab government. He assured them that the government would take up their demand for rationalisation of VAT on petrol and diesel. Members of the Petrol Pump Dealers’ Association of Punjab (PPDAP) were on hunger strike, pressing for bringing parity on VAT on fuel in comparison to neighbouring states. PPDAP president Paramjit Singh Doaba called off the hunger strike after Channi’s assurance. Channi said that the issue was discussed in a Cabinet meeting and that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had himself intervened and initiated action on it.
The minister told PPDAP members that the CM had directed the chief secretary to look into the matter and submit a detailed report. “We feel the pain of petrol pump dealers of Punjab. Fully aware how a higher VAT is causing revenue losses to Punjab, we are committed to bringing VAT parity in the region. We are working towards it and will come up with a solution soon,” he said. Fuel pump owners had been demanding reduction in taxes on petrol and diesel, alleging that smuggling of petroleum products was causing massive losses to them.