(Asks govt to call a special session of Vidhan Sabha to table resolution to bring petrol and diesel under GST to ensure even more substantial relief to common masses and farmers)
Chandigarh, October 4 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today while welcoming the relief in petrol and diesel rates given by the centre, asked the Congress government in Punjab to immediate reciprocate and reduce VAT on both petro products by Rs five per litre each keeping in view the fact that petrol and diesel prices in Punjab were the highest in North India.
In a statement here, the SAD president also asked the Congress government to immediately convene a special session of the Vidhan Sabha and table a resolution to bring both petrol and diesel under the GST ambit. “This will go a long way in giving a further relief to the common man as well as farmers by effecting a major cut in VAT and other taxes on these petro products”, he added.
Badal said now was also the time for the Congress government to practice what it preached. “Pradesh Congress president Sunil Jakhar has been claiming that he will impress upon the State government to effect a reduction in prices of petro-products once the centre takes the initiative. Now this has been done. Now the Punjab government must affect a substantial cut as it is collecting the highest VAT on both petro products in Northern India. If it does not do this then it will be proved that the Congress government is neither ‘lok hitaishi’ nor ‘kisan hitaishi’ he added.
The SAD president said it was strange that the Congress government had not swung into action and effecting a reduction in VAT immediately, adding three State governments including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tripura had reduced petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2.50 per litre today. “Earlier Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka had slashed VAT to pass on the benefits to the people. Punjab is charging more VAT than other States so it should give proportionate relief to the people”, he added.
Badal said simultaneously the Congress government must pass a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha to bring petrol and diesel under the GST ambit. “The SAD on its part will not only support this resolution, but will also jointly appeal to the centre along with the Congress and other parties in Punjab to make this a reality”.
The SAD leader said the Congress party must come out with its stand on this issue immediately. “Empty words of sympathy will not work. The government must take concrete steps to reduce petrol and diesel prices without any delay or be prepared to be called anti-people and anti-farmer”, Badal added.