The Haryana petroleum dealers association (HPDA), which has announced to go on an indefinite strike from Monday against the recent hike in the value added tax (VAT) by the state government, has said they would withdraw or end the strike call only if the association's all four demands were fulfilled and not just rollback in the VAT hike.
"The HPDA has been demanding exemption of the tax on evaporation loss of petroleum products as was approved by the law," the HPDA president, Dinesh Goyal, told HT, adding, "There is a loss of about 24 litre on transportation of every 12,000 litre carrier of diesel and 90 litre on 12,000 litre of petrol carrier and the law approves the loss and clearly states that the same will not be taxed, though it is an irony that the government levies the tax on total 12,000 litre."
He also bemoaned levying of commercial property tax on their filling stations, whereas as per the law these were supposed to be treated as storages. Goyal demanded the storage property tax be levied on the filling stations as it was less than commercial property tax. There are 2,310 filling stations in Haryana.
The HPDA president said the petroleum dealers felt "cheated" as the government increased the VAT despite an assurance by the Bharatiya Jannata Party (BJP) state president Subhash Barala on July 12 that it would not be hiked. Goyal said while the HPDA was already urging upon the state government to consider its long pending demands, the government hit it harder by hiking the VAT.
"With the increase, now diesel in Haryana is costliest in the region as it is cheaper in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi, hence bringing in a major loss to the Haryana dealers," he said.
Goyal also reiterated that HPDA demands allowing 15-year-old diesel vehicles to ply in the state, though the government had stopped passing of any vehicle older than 10 years after a decision of national green tribunal (NGT) in the context.