Chandigarh, October 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today issued an ultimatum to the Congress government to give an immediate relief of Rs five per litre in fuel prices on petrol and diesel by reducing State VAT in the next two days or be ready to face a people agitation on this issue.
In a statement here, former minister and senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said the Congress government and its finance minister Manpreet Badal had turned a blind eye to the suffering of the common man as well as farmers by refusing to reduce petrol and diesel prices. “This despite an announcement by Pradesh Congress president Sunil Jakhar that the State would reduce its own taxes on petro-products after the centre did the same. Now that the centre has taken this step, will Jakhar hold a dharna outside the office of the finance minister?”, he asked adding the real face of Jakhar had been exposed. “It is clear Jakhar was trying to befool the people of Punjab and farmer’s by holding pointless dharnas knowing fully well that his government did not have any intention of reducing fuel prices”.
Majithia said the SAD had demanded that the Congress government effect a Rs 5 per litre reduction in petrol and diesel prices as it was charging the highest tax on both commodities in North India. He said the State has collected an annual tax of Rs 5,800 crore under this head and must now pass on some of this benefit to the people.
Rubbishing the illogical and perverted excuses being dished out by finance minister Manpreet Badal to deny this relief to the masses, Mr Majithia said this spoke volumes about the anti -people and anti-poor outlook of the FM. He said 13 State governments had effected an immediate reduction in fuel prices and there was absolutely no reason why the Punjab government should deny this relief to its people. He said no one should be allowed to come in the way of this reduction and that chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh should sack Manpreet Badal immediately if he continued to resist implementation of this pro-people step.
Majithia said as far the SAD was concerned it would stand by the people and take the Congress government to task and force it to reduce fuel prices at all costs.