State excise and taxation minister Prakash Chaudhary on Friday informed the House that value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel was enhanced at the instance of neighbouring states Punjab and Haryana.
Blaming the government for not giving a satisfactory reply, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a walkout at the fag end of the question hour.
The minister said the government increased VAT on petrol and diesel to increase the revenue and there was no plan to slash it. Replying to a question posed by Kutlehar legislator Virender Kanwar, the minister said the state generated Rs 12.4 crore by increasing VAT on petrol, diesel and aviation turbine fuel.
When Kanwar posed a supplementary asking that whether the government wanted to give relief to the people by slashing VAT, minister said it was increased after Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Haryana finance minister Capt Abhimanyu called him up time and again and asked to increase VAT pleading that the rate should me similar in the region.
He said the Union government had also not passed on the benefits of price fall of crude oil in international market to the people. He said the Centre had increased the excise duty on petrol and diesel. The fuel prices have witnessed a fall of 57% in the international market, but the Union government gave a relief of only 20%, he said.
On this, leader of the Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal said the basic floor rate of VAT on petroleum products was 20%, but since the road traffic was a significant mean of connectivity in Himachal, the government should consider providing relief to the people.
63 power projects pending
Power minister Sujan Singh Pathania on Friday informed the House that 109 power projects had been commissioned while 63 were pending in the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej basin. He said the power generation was disrupted for 28 days in these basins due to rain and snow.
In written reply to a question posed by BJP legislator Mahender Singh Thakur, the minister said 109 commissioned hydropower projects had a generation capacity of 9194.85 MW of which 55 projects of 2838.55MW were located in the Beas basin, 26 of 1416.55MW in the Ravi basin and 28 projects of 4939.75MW in the Sutlej basin.
However, 28 projects of 1154.65MW in the Beas, 11 projects of 253.5MW in the Ravi and 24 projects of 1879.93MW in the Sutlej basin are under construction, he said.