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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

‘They are after money from day one,’ BJP attacks Kamal Nath government for 5 % hike in fuel prices

The government said the loss to the state from the floods was estimated at Rs 12000 crore and additional revenue was needed for relief and reconstruction.The Opposition BJP protested by reminding the Congress government of its poll promise to reduce the VAT and not increase it.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2019 18:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Kamal Nath government announced additional tax on liquor, diesel and petrol to garner funds to fight the flood aftermath
Kamal Nath government announced additional tax on liquor, diesel and petrol to garner funds to fight the flood aftermath(PTI Photo)
         

Madhya Pradesh government increased the value added tax (VAT) on diesel, petrol and liquor by five per cent, effective from Friday night, to raise additional revenue to mitigate the “huge financial loss” from loss of lives and property in the floods, said a government release.

Government’s order raised VAT on petrol to 33 per cent and 23 per cent on diesel. It also invited sharp criticism from the Opposition BJP, who reminded the Congress of its poll promise to reduce the VAT and not increase it. The party also announced an agitation against the hike.

The government said the loss to the state from the floods was estimated at Rs 12000 crore and additional revenue was needed for relief and reconstruction. A five per cent increase in VAT on liquor will raise an additional Rs 45 crore but since it was not enough, an additional 5 per cent VAT was being levied on petrol and diesel as well. The increase was temporary, the official release claimed.

State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal hit out against the chief minister and alleged that Kamal Nath had promised to cut petrol and diesel prices by Rs 5 and Rs 3 respectively if voted to power but had ended up increasing the prices twice after forming the government in the state.

MP Petrol Pump Owners’ association too has threatened to go on strike if the hike is not roll backed.

“The increase in rate will affect business as heavy vehicles will get fuel from neighbouring states where rates are much lower than MP. The government does not understand that it would cause loss to the state as well,” said Ajay Singh, general secretary of MP petrol pump owners association.

Atul Sharma, another officer bearer of the association, said he didn’t believe the government and threatened an indefinite strike.

“We will call a complete shut down and if the government doesn’t decrease it (VAT hike) we will go on an indefinite strike, said Singh.

BJP said it supported the strike announced by the association and will also stage protests separately.

Leader of opposition in the state assembly Gopal Bhargava said, “In the name of tragedy, Congress-led state government is cheating residents of MP. From the day it came to power, they are after the money. By imposing extra tax, they put extra burden on the people of MP. We will not allow them to do so. We will stage a protest against the government’s anti-people decision.”

Minister of public relation PC Sharma responded by saying the BJP shouldn’t do politics over a decision to help the flood-affected.

“There is no need to panic. This is a temporary change and once the situation comes under control, the rates will be reduced. Instead of doing politics, BJP should support the decision taken to help the flood-affected people,” Sharma said.