A day after slashing VAT on petrol in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday announced a reduction in diesel prices by Rs.4.06 per litre.
He said after the centre's relief of Rs.2.50 per litre on diesel, the state government has decided to give a further relief Rs.1.56 per litre by way of taxes. The effective reduction would be RS.4.06 per litre.
Mr Fadnavis added that the government's decision to cut the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol by Rs 2.50 per litre has been hugely welcomed by the people and the government will bear the losses in the larger public interest.
On Thursday, shortly after the centre announced reduction in prices of petrol-diesel, Maharashtra and at least a dozen states followed suit by reducing various local taxes like VAT on petrol and diesel.
However, Maharashtra cut VAT only on petrol, attracting criticism that it was acting in the interests of the affluent sections of people.
The state and and the centre's decision collectively resulted in a drop in petrol prices by around Rs 4.37 per litre, against the promised Rs 5 per litre, from 6 am on Friday in Maharashtra, which had been reeling under the highest fuel prices anywhere in the country.
Accusing the government of taking people for a ride, Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan said that instead of the Rs 5 per litre assured by Fadnavis, the actual reduction is Rs 4.37 per litre when pumps opened for business on Friday.
"This is blatant cheating. After you announced Rs 5 per litre, implement it instead of giving just Rs 4.37 per litre... This is nothing but propaganda by the BJP government. Both petrol-diesel prices must be brought under GST immediately," Mr Chavan said.
Nationalist Congress Party's Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde criticized the belated decision and reiterated tht petrol-diesel must be brought under GST for providing genuine relief to the people.
"For the reduction of Rs.1.56/litre in diesel prices, now don't squander Rs 1,500 crores in publicity, or people will be forced to shell out extra Rs 10 to recover that," Mr Munde added sarcastically.
However, the Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association (FAMPEDA), Chairman, Uday Lodh, while welcoming the reductions, pointed out that the daily price increase by the Oil Marketing Companies will continue as per the global crude oil price fluctuations.
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