Congress President Sonia Gandhi, on Sunday, 21 February, wrote a letter to Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi over the rising fuel prices in the country.
“India deserves better,” wrote Sonia Gandhi in the letter, and said:
"“I fail to understand how any government can justify such thoughtless and insensitive measures directly at the cost of our people.” "
‘Govt Has Chosen to Profiteer of People’s Misery’
Stating that she was writing to the PM “to convey every citizen’s anguish and deep distress regarding the spiralling fuel and gas prices’, Sonia Gandhi pointed out that the country “is witnessing systematic erosion of jobs, wages and household income.”
"“These challenges have been compounded by run-away inflation and an unprecedented rise in price of almost all household items and essential commodities. Sadly, in these distressing times, the Government has chosen to profiteer of people’s misery and suffering.” " - Sonia Gandhi
“Fuel prices are at a historic and unsustainable high,” wrote Sonia Gandhi, in her letter.
“What baffles most citizens is that these pices have been increased despite moderate prices of international crude oil. To put it in context, the crude oil price is nearly half of what it was during the UPA Government’s tenure. Therefore, your Government’s act of raising prices (continuously for 12 days till 20 February) is little less than a brazen act of profiteering.”
‘Modi-Govt Unreasonably Over-Zealous in Levying Excise Duty’
Further, Gandhi in the letter stated that the BJP government has increased excise duty on Diesel by 820% and on Petrol by 258% and collected upwards of Rs 21 lakh crore in the last six and a half years.
“This unaccounted for windfall is yet to be passed to the people for whose benefit it was ostensibly collected,” said Sonia Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi also alleged that the Modi-Government has been “unreasonably over-zealous” in levying excessive duty on Petrol and Diesel., and said it was “nothing short of extorition to cover up economic mismanagement.”
"“As the principal party in opposition I urge you to follow ‘Raj Dharma’ and reduce fuel prices by partially rolling back excise duty.” " - Sonia Gandhi
Further she alleged that the “astronomical rise in domestic non-subsidised LPG gas cylinder to Rs 769 in Delhi (and not Rs 800 in may states like Uttar Pradesh) is even more cruel and has impacted every household.”
‘Why Blame Previous Regimes After 7 Years of Being in Power?’
Sonia Gandhi, in her letter, also said that it was equally distressing that despite being in power for almost 7-years, the Modi government has continued to blame previous regimes for “its own economic mismanagement”.
"“To set the record straight, domestic crude oil production has fallen to an 18-year-low in the year 2020.” "
Urging the BJP Government to roll-back the increases, Gandhi told PM Modi in the letter that she hopes he will agree it is time for his government to focus on solutions in stead of looking for excuses.
Over the years, while crude oil prices have decreased to $63 per barrel, petrol prices have been on the rise in India, and is nearing Rs 100/litre in many parts of the country.
In the last 12 days, the price has gone up by Rs 3.63 per litre for petrol, while the diesel rate has risen by Rs 3.84 a litre. In some cities, petrol has already crossed Rs 100-mark per litre.
On Saturday, 20 February, Petrol prices again rose by 39 paise, taking the rate past Rs 90 per litre in the national capital. Diesel, meanwhile, was selling at Rs 80.97 per litre after a hike of 37 paise.
In Mumbai, petrol prices are just Rs 3 per litre (Rs 97 per litre), short of touching the three-digit mark of Rs 100 per litre for the very first time ever.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, 17 February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that if the previous government had focused on reducing India’s dependence on energy imports then the middle class would not have been so burdened, reported PTI.
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