Petrol pump dealers in Delhi on Sunday threatened to go on indefinite strike from June 14 to protest hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel that has made the fuel costlier in the national capital compared to the neighbouring States.

“Our pleas to the Delhi government have gone unheeded, so we are left with no option but to go on indefinite strike,” Delhi NCR Petrol Dealers Association President Ajay Bansal said.

On May 14, the petrol pump dealers had closed their shutters for 24 hours pressing for their demand.

“The pumps will remain shut on every Monday beginning May 24,” he said, adding, “If our demands are not met we will go on indefinite strike from June 14.”

Mr. Bansal said sales are drying up as the difference between diesel prices in Delhi and Haryana is nearly Rs 4 per litre.

In June 2008, Haryana reduced VAT on diesel to 8.8 per cent from 12 per cent, thereby making it cheaper than Delhi where VAT on fuel was 12.5 per cent.

“From 13.5 crore litres a month, the sales of diesel in Delhi came down to 8.5 crore litres a month (loss of 37 per cent),” he said.

The already “bleeding” dealers were dealt with another blow when the Delhi government from April 1 raised VAT on diesel to 20 per cent. “This has resulted in a difference of almost Rs 4 per litre in the prices of diesel between Delhi and Haryana,” Mr. Bansal said.

Delhi is bordered from all sides, but East, by Haryana.

The increase in VAT has made diesel in Delhi more expensive than even Uttar Pradesh, which is East of Delhi.

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