The State government has decided to forgo tax on the recently increased portion of price of petrol. The decision will bring down price of petrol in the State by at least 70 paise a litre amounting to a loss of about Rs.108 crore a day to the exchequer.

Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the decision was taken in consultation with Finance Minister K.M. Mani and other Ministers. He said the United Democratic Front (UDF) government had done the same thing when petrol price was increased four months ago considering the public turmoil.

Referring to the ongoing protests by Left parties against the price rise, Mr. Chandy said: “The motive behind such hollow protests will be identified by the public.” When petrol price was hiked 16 times during the five-year rule of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, it came up with a concrete initiative to reduce tax only once,” he criticised.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chandy admitted that the price rise of petrol could never be justified. “The version of Union government is that circumstances are not favourable for considering a reduction in the price. The only way is to cut short the State's tax on petrol,” he said.

The Chief Minister made it clear that the government would be ready to hold further discussions on measures to be taken to meet the situation. He called upon the Left parties to withdraw from their decision to hold State-wide strike on Monday.