Chandigarh, Sep 11: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to practice what he preached and direct the Punjab government to reduce state taxes on petrol and diesel by Rs ten per litre immediately to give relief to the common man.
Stating that political ‘tamashas’ would not help the people, but concrete action would, the SAD president said Mr Gandhi should immediately direct Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to follow the example of Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and reduce VAT and surcharge on petrol and diesel immediately. “Rahul should also tell Punjabis why he has not given this direction till now even though petroleum prices in Punjab are the highest in North India and the third highest in the country”.
Exposing the Congress' double speak on the issue which concerned the well being of the common man, Mr Badal said the Punjab government was collecting an own tax of Rs 23 and Rs 11 per litre respectively on petrol and diesel. He said this, along with 42 per cent central devolution of excise, was resulting in an annual tax collection of Rs 5,800 crore from petroleum products.
"Since development is at a stop, the state has nothing to show for utilisation except for unproductive expenditure. Surely, the government can give relief to the common man as well as the farming community by reducing in share in petrol and diesel prices by Rs 10 per litre”, he added.
He also pointed out that Capt Amarinder Singh had, while announcing the party’s election manifesto in the run up to the 2017 Assembly elections, promised that the Congress if elected to power would reduce fuel prices substantially. “Capt Amarinder is already one-and-a-half years too late in delivering on this promise. He should not delay taking this step any further”.
Speaking about the deceitful politics of the Congress, Mr Badal said it was condemnable that while Mr Gandhi was demanding that petrol and diesel prices be brought under the GST regime, the Congress government in Punjab was flatly refusing to do this. “Rahul and the Punjab government should both explain this contradictory stand instead of shedding crocodile tears on petrol and diesel prices”.
He said not only this, earlier when Pradesh Congress president Sunil Jakhar had announced that he would prevail upon his party’s government to reduce tax on petroleum products, State finance minister Manpreet Badal had refused to give a relief of even one paisa.
“This proves that the government is only resorting to sham 'dharnas' on issue of petroleum prices to shift attention from its own failure to address the issue. It is also deflecting attention from the burning issues of Punjab be it the Congress failure to waive off farmer loans of Rs 90,000 crore, reneging on the ‘ghar ghar naukari’ promise, refusing to hike social welfare benefits and even colluding with radical forces to drive a wedge in Punjab society and endangering hard won peace and communal harmony in the State”. (UNI)