Chandigarh, Feb 20 (PTI) The Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday urged the Union government to reduce fuel prices immediately, saying the hike may have 'devastating impact' on the country’s economy that is still recovering from the coronavirus crisis.
The SAD also asked the Congress-led Punjab government to give relief to people by slashing state VAT on petrol and diesel.
Former minister and SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said the Centre has increased petrol and diesel prices multiple times this year.
Petrol and diesel prices have been hiked by Rs 6.87 per litre and Rs 7.10 per litre, respectively, despite the fact that crude prices have gone down to USD 63 per barrel in the international market, Cheema said in a statement here.
Stating that the situation warranted an urgent intervention from the highest level, including, Cheema said, 'It is extremely worrisome that petrol and diesel prices were being hiked despite the fact that these had been de-regulated and were dependent on international prices.' “It is not justified to burden the common man in this manner. The unprecedented rise in fuel prices will have a devastating impact on the economy, which is still recovering from the COVID-induced crisis. Prices of essential commodities have already gone up and the situation could become worse in the coming days,” the SAD leader added.
Asserting that it is the duty of the state government to give relief to people, Cheema said the state charges 27.26 per cent VAT on petrol and 17.53 on diesel. Currently, petrol is being sold at Rs 91.47 per litre in Punjab and costs Rs 82.60 a litre, he said.
Asking Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to act immediately, the Akali leader said the Congress government should affect Rs 10 per litre cut in petrol and diesel prices immediately by reducing VAT.
Cheema said his party will raise the issue in the upcoming Budget session of the state assembly. PTI SUN RDK RDK