Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa has demanded immediate rollback of the 1% hike in the value-added tax (VAT) on diesel, which has been made effective in the state from October 1.
Bajwa, in a statement here, stated that with this hike in VAT, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had given a “black Diwali gift” to the people in general, and the industry and farmers in particular. This decision has raised the price of diesel in the state by 58 paise per litre, he pointed out, adding that the move was aimed at generating Rs 110 crore as additional revenue from VAT on diesel.
He pointed out that VAT on diesel in Punjab was among the highest in the country, much higher than in neighbouring Haryana.
Ridiculing Badal for claiming himself to be the biggest champion of the farmers, Bajwa said this section had suffered the most from this hike.
The PPCC chief said it was Badal who had been attacking the previous UPA government for every hike in the prices of diesel and other petroleum products on the plea that such decisions were anti-people and added to all-round inflation.
“Badal owes an explanation to the people as to why VAT has been increased by 1% in the state in which it was already being charged at the rate of 8.75%,” he added.