An all-India protest was organised by Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] on Tuesday against the “astronomical rise” in the retail price of petrol and diesel. The party condemned the government’s decision to increase the duties levied on petrol and diesel and called for their immediate rollback. In Delhi, petrol is being sold at Rs 73.83/litre, which is the highest since September 2013. Diesel prices have also hit an all-time high in the national capital, at Rs 64.69/litre.
“This is particularly necessary after the central government willingly allows lakhs of crores of rupees as tax waivers to top corporates of the country. The retail prices of petrol and diesel are both now ruling at the highest ever levels,” the CPI (M) said in a statement.
“The party appeals to all other democratic and pro-people forces to also join in this action to force a rollback of excise duties,” the statement added, pointing towards the “unusual rise” in prices which also makes retail prices of petroleum products in India, the highest in South Asia.
According to Business Standard, Ministry of Petroleum had earlier this year requested a reduction in the excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact of rising international oil rates. But Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget, presented on February 1, ignored those calls.
The excise duty was raised nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to support finances as global prices fell and a cut in taxes was observed just once in October last year by Rs 2/litre.
Launching an attack against such hikes, CPI(M) argued that in the last four years, from April 1, 2014, the excise duty on petrol has gone up from Rs. 9.48/litre to Rs. 19.48/litre as of now. Similarly, an increase in excise duty on diesel from Rs. 3.56/litre on April 1, 2014, to Rs. 15.33/litre has pushed the prices up.
Echoing similar sentiments, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in protest against the hike in fuel and domestic gas prices, rode a bicycle and did holding a model of LPG cylinder at Malur in Kolar district on Monday.