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Cong urges Centre to reduce fuel prices


GUWAHATI, June 15 - Congress today called upon the government to pass on the benefits of the fall in global crude oil prices to the consumers.

�The Modi government must reduce the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG to the August 2004 level. It is important to remind that the current crude oil price at about US dollars 40 is similar to the August 2004 level and yet consumers are paying a heavier bill,� Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora said addressing a press conference here.

He said that in August 2004, petrol was Rs 36.81 per litre, diesel Rs 24.16 per litre and the LPG cost Rs 261.60 per cylinder (Delhi rates), but currently, petrol is being sold at Rs 75.78 per litre, diesel at Rs 74.03 per litre and the LPG at Rs 593 per cylinder.

�The Modi-Shah government must immediately roll back the excise duty hike of Rs 23.78 on petrol and Rs 28.37 on diesel. Today, 130 crore Indians are battling the corona pandemic. The poor, migrant workers, shopkeepers, farmers, small and medium businesses and those who have lost their jobs are struggling to survive the economic ruin unleashed by the Modi government. But, instead of reducing their burden, the draconian and anti-people BJP government is fleecing the people by not just raising fuel rates on a daily basis, but also refusing to share benefits of lower crude prices with the people,� said Bora.

He said that petrol and diesel prices have been hiked by Rs 4.52 per litre and Rs 4.64 per litre, respectively, during the last eight days itself despite crude oil prices being benign.

�It is a matter of record that excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.20 per litre and on diesel it was Rs 3.46 per litre in May 2014 when the Modi government assumed office. In the last six years, the excise duty has been increased on petrol by an additional Rs 23.78 per litre and on diesel by an additional Rs 28.37. This translates into a 258 percent increase in excise on petrol and 820 percent hike in excise duty on diesel,� Bora said.

He added, �Between financial year 2014-15 to fiscal year 2019-20, the Modi government has hiked taxes on petrol and diesel 12 times and has collected a whopping Rs 17,80,056 crore in just the last six years. When the people are reeling under difficult conditions, the government has no right to further burden them under high taxation. If the Modi government, which made false promises of cheaper fuel bills, rolls back the increased excise duties, both petrol and diesel prices will immediately come under Rs 50 per litre. It is noteworthy that on May 26, 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assumed power, the oil basket price of Indian oil companies was USD 108 or Rs 6,330, which means the oil per litre was costing Rs 39.81. As on June 12 this year, the oil basket rates for Indian oil companies is USD 40 per barrel or Rs 3,038.64 per barrel. As we all know that one barrel has 159 litres and that means the cost per litre today is Rs 19.11 per litre.�

Bora said that as such, the petrol, diesel and LPG rates can be decreased by a large margin in comparison to the reduced purchasing price.

�Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government explain why petrol and diesel that cost less than Rs 20 per litre to India is being sold at steep rates of Rs 75.78 per litre for petrol and Rs 74.03 per litre for diesel,� said Bora.

The principal opposition party also demanded that petrol and diesel be brought under the GST. �The hikes in excise duty brought by the Modi government since May 2014 on petroleum products should be withdrawn immediately until it is brought under the GST regime,� added the State Congress chief.

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