Fuel rates at all-time high in Mohali, dealers fume
With fuel prices at a record high in Mohali district due to daily hike, filling station owners have been hit hard.
What’s adding to their woes is the fact that both petrol and diesel remain dearest in Mohali across the tricity.
While petrol was available for ₹92.36 per litre in Mohali on Sunday, it cost ₹88.34 in Panchkula and ₹87.16 in Chandigarh. Even diesel, which was priced ₹83.43 in Mohali, was available for ₹81.36 in Panchkula and ₹80.67 in Chandigarh.
Ashwinder Singh Mongia, president, Mohali District Petroleum Dealers Association, said: “Due to disparity in fuel rates in the tricity, we have lost about 70% of our business. All the dealers in Mohali whose pumps are located on the border with Chandigarh are the worst sufferers. When the authorities can bring parity in liquor rates, then why not in fuel rates?”
What makes fuel so expensive in Mohali is the high rate of taxation in Punjab. The effective value added tax (VAT), including cess, on petrol in Mohali is 31.17%, while in Panchkula, it is 26.25%. In Chandigarh, VAT is 22.45% and there is no additional cess. On diesel, VAT in the three districts is 19.49% , 17.23% and 14.03%, respectively.
Such high rates have hit the sales in Mohali drastically. According to figures available with the dealers association, diesel sales have dropped by 70% from 10,000 litres per pump per day in August 2017 to 3,000 in January this year.
“As fuel is available at cheaper rates just a couple of kilometres from our petrol pumps, why would anyone come to us?” said Mongia. “Even in Delhi NCR, there is a fuel rate differential of just 25 paisa, despite the area being heavily populated and comprising Delhi, Haryana and UP.”
Last year, a businessman who owned three petrol pumps in Mohali committed suicide, citing huge losses being suffered due to the substantial difference in fuel rates. In a letter to the Punjab governor, he also stated that non-revision of VAT in Chandigarh had robbed him of 80% of his business as his pumps were situated on the border.
The dealers are also resentful of Chandigarh pumps putting up boards and hoardings advertising the cheaper rates. They claim the boards are illegal, and question as to why the UT administration has not acted against them.
Meanwhile, a senior officer in the excise and taxation department of Punjab expressed helplessness over the issue. “Since Mohali is part of Punjab, we cannot have different rates from the rest of the state. Efforts were made to bring parity with Chandigarh, but proved futile,” he said, on the condition of anonymity.