Autorickshaw unions staged dharna here on Thursday demanding that the Value-Added Tax imposed on Auto LPG, which is currently at 14.5 per cent in the State, be scrapped.

Appealing to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in a memorandum, the unions have sought that a policy decision be announced on this issue that would enable auto drivers in the State to earn their livelihood. The Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ Union (ARDU) said that this was the only under the staggering price hike in Auto LPG last month.

The price revision of February 1 has brought temporary relief to auto drivers when price dipped from January’s rate of Rs. 65.53 a litre to Rs. 59.98 a litre. However, union members point out that the relief is temporary and that gas prices have fluctuated way too often in recent times. “The way the State government can protect us from this volatility is to scrap VAT. Other governments have reduced VAT drastically, with neighbouring Tamil Nadu bringing VAT down considerably last year and Kerala announcing a policy decision to scrap VAT,” said Rudramurthy, general secretary of ARDU.

He said that the government should consider this a welfare measure given that it has failed to meet any prior promises on either extending ESI or other health insurance schemes.

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