Nearly 400 petrol pumps would remain shut on October 28 in support of the long-standing demand of the Delhi Petrol Dealers’ Association (DPDA) to reduce VAT on diesel, bringing it at par with the rate in Haryana.

“The DPDA Core Committee has decided to close down all their petrol pumps in the Capital on October 28 in protest against the insensitivity shown by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit towards our demand of reducing VAT on diesel and seeking parity with Haryana,” DPDA president Atul Peshwaria said.

Mr. Peshwaria said bulk diesel users, including truckers, cab fleet and bus owners, have deserted Delhi and now prefer to fill fuel tanks in Haryana due to the price difference. “Diesel is Rs.1.50 costlier in Delhi due to higher VAT compared to Haryana. VAT on diesel in Delhi is 12.5 per cent compared to about 9 per cent in Haryana. The Delhi Government is losing nearly Rs.400 crore in revenue due to this. It is purely an adamant attitude and bad economics,” he said.

DPDA vice-president Nishit Goel alleged: “Ms. Dikshit is playing politics over our miseries by claiming reduction of diesel consumption in the Capital from 10.98 lakh mt during 2009-10 to 10.37 lakh mt by 2012-13 in the Delhi Statistical Handbook 2013 released recently. "This is a fallacy and we have been trying to explain it to them over the past four years,” he added.

The DPDA office-bearers alleged that despite the availability of environmentally acceptable Euro 4 diesel in Delhi, the consumers were buying cheaper Euro 3 diesel from Haryana. “Diesel tankers are being smuggled into the city,” alleged Mr. Peshwaria. Dealers, particularly those operating in the city outskirts, have lost over 50 per cent of their business to Haryana, he added.

The Association said a higher diesel price had only diverted the sale to neighbouring States.

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