Even as petrol prices soared to fresh record highs on Tuesday despite nationwide protests against rising fuel costs, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced a Re 1 cut in price. “For the time being, we have decided to slash one rupee for each litre of petrol and diesel. We also demand that the central government consider cutting down the cess on diesel and petrol prices,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat. The TMC leader also attacked the centre saying that the BJP-led central government hiked excise duty nine times, even when the global crude prices were falling. “Our government has never increased the sales tax or cess during all these years,” she said. Notably, petrol prices soared to Rs 83.75 in Kolkata, according to data from IOC app.
Yesterday, Mamata Banerjee had announced a donation of Rs 10,000 for each of the 28,000 puja committees in the state, costing the state a whopping Rs 28 crore, at a time when the whole nation is reeling under the burden of rising petrol prices.
While petrol, diesel prices have been on the boil for some time now, the Narendra Modi-led government has ruled out any immediate reduction in excise duty in order to bring down the retail prices of auto fuels, and instead urged the states to take action. A few states such as Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh have announced a VAT cut to provide relief to the common man. While Andhra Pradesh announced a Rs 2 per litre cut in VAT on petrol and diesel, poll-bound Rajasthan’s announcement of a 4% cut came on Sunday.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced a reduction in value-added tax (VAT), which is expected to cause the state’s exchequer Rs 1,120 crore. “During 2013-14, the crude oil prices were $105.52 per barrel. But when the price fell down to $46 dollars, too, the Centre did not reduce the petrol and diesel prices. Now, the crude oil costs $70 per barrel, but the Centre is increasing the petrol and diesel prices abnormally every day,” Naidu had said.