More than 3,500 petrol pumps in the Rajasthan will go on a 24-hour strike from midnight Tuesday to protest the state government’s decision to increase value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by 4%.
All the petrol pumps under the Rajasthan Petrol Pump Dealers’ Association (RPDA) will remain closed from midnight Tuesday till midnight Wednesday, said Sunit Bagai, the RPDA president.
He said that despite the Centre reducing the prices of diesel and petrol, the consumers are not getting the benefit due to the increase in VAT.
The petrol and diesel prices in Rajasthan are already higher compared to the neighbouring states and this 4% hike in VAT has further increased the price, he added. He further said that several national highways pass through Rajasthan and a majority of the vehicles plying on these highways are forced to purchase fuel from neighbouring states as the prices there are cheaper.
This is not only affecting the business of petroleum dealers but state government too is losing revenue, he added.
Bagai said emergency vehicles like ambulance, fire tenders will be exempted from the purview of the strike and given petrol and diesel at the association’s petrol pumps along all company owned and company operated by state-owned oil companies.
The petrol dealers body is also demanding that prices of petrol and diesel in the state be made at par with those of neighbouring states and do away with the district supply officer issued license for sale of petrol, diesel and lube oil, he added.
The association had written to chief minister Vasundhara Raje and state principal secretary finance on December 22, 2014, to discuss over this issue, but they did not show any interest, forcing the petroleum dealers to go on strike, the RPDA chief said.