Even as the common man is still to come out of the shock of unprecedented petrol price hike of Rs 7.54 by the PSU oil companies, the Punjab government did not lose an opportunity to increase its revenue by imposing VAT on the stock retained by petroleum outlets in the state.
As soon as the petrol price hike came into effect, tax officials were instructed to take into account the stock left with each outlet and accordingly plan to charge VAT on the unsold stock on the basis of hiked rates.
"I have received complaint from my dealer members that officials of Sales and Taxation department visited every outlet and noted down the stock available, which was bought and stocked on old rate," Punjab petroleum dealers association president JP Khanna told Hindustan Times.
"It is surprising that for the last 10 years, the state government did not take such action as petroleum products are tax-paid products as tax is paid in advance on both purchase and sale,"
Khanna said, revealing that when he approached excise commissioner A Venuprasad, the latter allegedly justified his department's action and said that VAT of at least Rs 1.60 paisa per litre on petrol was due to the state government.
When pointed out that such "arbitrary" action was never resorted to by the department and that even when price of petrol was rolled back in the past, already collected VAT was never refunded to dealers, Venuprasad could not give a satisfactory reply, Khanna said.
He warned that if any extra VAT was imposed on the dealers, the association would launch an agitation and even observe a strike.