Bhubaneswar, Jun 11 (PTI) As part of a nationwide protest against the fuel price hike, the Odisha Congress on Friday held symbolic demonstrations at petrol pumps in several districts of the state, demanding a complete rollback of the increased price of petroleum products.
Petrol price was hiked by 29 paise and diesel by 28 paise, according to a notification of state-owned fuel retailers.
The hike -- the 22nd since May 4 -- took fuel prices across the country to historic highs.
'At a time when India is witnessing a spiralling rise in prices of essential commodities, the Modi government has been continuously increasing fuel prices,' state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said on Twitter.
'I thank everyone who responded to @INCOdisha's call to protest at petrol pumps against BJP's tyrannical rule,' he said on the microblogging site, using the hashtag- 'BJPLootingIndia'.
Alleging that the fuel price rise has led to more suffering to common people during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress said, 'The Centre's failed economic policies and widespread unemployment added to their woes'.
The BJP-led government at the Centre has increased excise duty by Rs 23.87 per litre on petrol and Rs 28.37 on diesel in comparison to the previous UPA regime, the state Congress said.
Petrol and diesel prices were hiked again on Friday by 31 paise per litre and 28 paise per litre, respectively.
'The prime minister should act immediately and withdraw the hiked amount imposed on petrol and diesel as people are suffering from a severe financial crisis during the COVID-induced lockdown.
'Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should immediately withdraw the value-added tax on petrol. The CM should not follow the footprint of PM Modi,' Senior Congress leader and MLA Sura Routray said.
The BJP had promised to provide petrol at Rs 35 in 2014 when it came to power at the Centre, another Congress leader Sarat Patnaik said.
'The saffron camp had raised the slogan 'Achhe Din Aageya'. Now, petrol is being sold at almost Rs 100. Is it 'Aachhe Din'?' he asked.
The BJP, however, rubbished all the allegations made by the Congress.
BJP state spokesperson Satyabrat Panda asked the Congress to refrain from doing 'cheap politics at a time when the country is fighting against the COVID crisis'.
'They should know that the state governments are also imposing VAT on the fuel prices. Has the Congress-ruled states withdrawn the tax on petrol and diesel,' Panda asked. PTI HMB AAM BDC BDC