The Punjab Petroleum Dealers’ Association has decided to boycott the purchase of petroleum products on Friday as a mark of protest against the Punjab government for its decision to hike the VAT on diesel last week.
Association president JP Khanna said the volume of sales of diesel had already dropped by 7% to 10% in the state in the last three days after the state government increased the VAT on diesel from 9.75% to 12.35% on Saturday.
Khanna said the association had decided to boycott the purchase of petroleum products on Friday as a mark of protest against the government as it failed to consult the petroleum dealers as well as the representatives of the farmers before taking such a major decision which affected a large number of consumers in Punjab.
After the increase, diesel costs Rs 53.60 per litre in Punjab, while it is for Rs 52.64 in Chandigarh and Rs 52.35 in Haryana.
Khanna said, “A large number of transporters, especially those holding national permit (NP) to carry goods all the way to south India, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam, have stopped buying diesel from the state. They prefer buying it from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh or even from Chandigarh where it is cheaper.”
Khanna said though the government aimed to earn more revenue, the move was shortsighted. In the long run, Punjab would lose on the volume of sales as major transports would buy the bulk of diesel from outside the state, Khanna added.
Meanwhile, a senior Punjab official said the negotiations were already on at the highest level in the Punjab government contemplating a rollback in the hike as it would not only hit the transporters but also the farmers who are the major consumers.
Inquiries revealed that in Punjab the agriculture sector consumes 35% of the total diesel sold, industry about 20% and the transport sector nearly 45%.
There are about 3,000 petrol pumps actively operating in Punjab of which nearly 500 which are in the border districts have suffered the most after the hike. On an average, each petrol pump sells about 7,000 to 8,000 litre of diesel a day which, according to the association, has already dropped by 400 to 500 litre.
AAP convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur said the party had convened an emergency meeting in Chandigarh on November 20 to discuss the issue.
“When the diesel prices are falling the world over due to the prices of crude oil coming down in the international market, the Punjab government has increased the VAT. It is trying to burden the farmers of the state to enhance revenue,” said the AAP convener. “We will launch a campaign to force the government to rollback the hike. The Akalis have lost the moral ground to call themselves the champions of the farmers,” said Chhotepur.
Rate per Litre
Punjab Rs 53.60 12.35%
Haryana Rs 52.35 9.35%
Chandigarh Rs 52.64 9.68%
Himachal Pradesh Rs 52.74 10.6%