Petrol pump dealers are set to go on an indefinite strike from Monday morning to protest the recent hike in value added tax (VAT) on diesel. The resolution was passed by the All Haryana Petrol Pump Dealers Association in a meeting in Rohtak on Saturday.
In Gurgaon district, 123 petrol pumps will take part in the strike. Earlier, the dealers had stopped selling fuel on credit to government vehicles from July 10 to 13 as a mark of protest.
Across Haryana 2,310 petrol pumps will take part in the strike. They will also refuse to take delivery of petroleum products from oil companies, the association said.
“Our strike is definitely on. The hike in VAT is unjust and will hit us hard because the rate in Haryana will be higher than other states. We had been assured by the state gover nment that the prices would be less or similar,” said Dinesh Goyal, president of All Haryana Petrol Pump Dealers Association.
In the last seven months, the Haryana government has increased VAT on diesel from 8.8% to 16.4%. The government also charges 5% surcharge per litre on diesel, and another 1.5% entry tax on crude oil for every litre. These changes have taken the cumulative tax rate to 17.22%.
The dealers allege that the BJP government has doubled the VAT despite promising that only a minor hike will be introduced.
Goyal said that the VAT on diesel in Punjab is 13.4%, and the government does not charge entry tax and surcharge on fuel there. The association has further demanded that oil tankers in Haryana be allowed to run for a period of 15 years instead of the present 10 years.
Increase in the VAT on diesel had come after Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi decided to have a uniform rate of diesel as per a new arrangement.
While the Punjab government increased it to 13.4%, Haryana government has hiked it to 16.4%. The effective tax on this fuel including other levies would be 17.29%, and 17.22% respectively.
The Himachal Pradesh government has also agreed to raise tax to 16% but with the condition that other states take a firm decision in this regard first.
In addition to questioning the VAT hike, petrol dealers are also demanding a remission of tax on the evaporation losses.
The losses stand at 24 litres and 90 litres for every 12,000 litres of diesel and petrol respectively.