Autorickshaw unions want the auto fares doubled. For this they have threatened to go on strike from May 17. Meanwhile, Petroleum dealers have also called a one-day strike on May 14 to protest the hike in VAT on diesel from 12.5 per cent to 20 per cent.
Auto union members complain that while fares for buses, Metro, CNG and prices for all commodities have gone up, the Delhi government has paid no heed to their demand for a review of auto and taxi fares.
“We have written to Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna now and asked him to direct the Delhi government to meet us or sort out the issue himself,” said Rajendra Soni president, Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh.
Meanwhile, petroleum traders said they have lost substantial business to Haryana and UP ever since the Delhi government hiked the VAT rate on diesel. While diesel in Haryana is cheaper by Rs 3.50 per litre, it costs 70 paise less in UP.
“Our sales halved half last month. This shows that most diesel buyers have already shifted from Delhi to Haryana and UP,” said Atul Peshawaria, president, Petrol Dealers Association, a group of 450 dealers.
Interestingly, while the diesel sale has almost halved, the revenue collected on it has gone up.
In Apirl 2010, Delhi sold 64,363 kilolitres diesel and VAT collected on this sale amounted to Rs 40.17 crore. In April 2009, Delhi had sold 105,903 kilolitres diesel and VAT collected was Rs 35.6 crore. In light of this, sources say government isn’t keen on a rollback on VAT.