Staff Reporter

Warn of an indefinite strike in the Capital if no relief is given to them within a week

Haryana reduced VAT on diesel on June 9

‘Since then sales have dropped by 30 per cent’

NEW DELHI: Because of a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel in Haryana earlier this month, petrol dealers in Delhi are losing out on business and they have warned the State Government of an indefinite strike if no relief is given to them within a week.

Addressing media persons on Saturday, Delhi Petrol Dealers’ Association (DPDA) president Atul Peshawaria said Haryana reduced the VAT on diesel from 12 per cent to 8.8 per cent on June 9 making diesel there cheaper by nearly Rs.1.25 a litre as compared to Delhi.

“Since then, the drop in our sales has been nearly 30 per cent. Over the next couple of weeks it may go up to 50 per cent. This is causing financial loss not only to the dealers but even to the State Government that is losing out on revenue,” said Mr. Peshawaria.

The Association pointed out that with nearly 66 per cent of diesel sales taking place in outer reaches of Delhi, which shares five borders and 16 entry points with Haryana, the possibility of the neighbouring State eating into the Delhi dealers’ business was very high.

The price difference of nearly Rs.1.25 is quite huge for bulk buyers like transporters and industrial users and it provides them the incentive to travel a few kilometres and buy diesel at a cheaper rate, the Association said.

It also pointed out that the price imbalance would lead to unauthorised retailing of fuel, the quality of which would be difficult to monitor.

Mr. Peshawaria said following the price hike in fuel, all the States had been advised by the Prime Minister to give relief to the customers by reducing other taxes. “It is strange that the Delhi Government, which is a Congress-ruled State, has not provided any such relief. Even Uttar Pradesh reduced VAT by Re.1 on petrol and Rs.1.5 on diesel,” he pointed out. The DPDA president said the petrol dealers had long been fighting for uniformity in fuel prices all over the country. “If not in entire country, at least in the National Capital Region that has a huge chunk of floating population the prices should be uniform. Within the NCR itself we have four different prices for the same product,” he pointed out.

Mr. Peshawaria added that unless the price difference was sorted out the problems arising out of price differences on account of imposition or reduction of taxes would continue to affect the dealers.

According to Mr. Peshawaria, the petrol dealers in the Capital were also facing problems in selling branded fuel. “Following the increase in price, which is quite likely to increase again in the next few months, the customer is already feeling the pinch. In such a scenario, trying to push a product which is costlier by another Rs.5 is unfair. It has already led to a few ugly situations at petrol stations,” said Mr. Peshawaria.

“It is due to these factors that our business is becoming untenable and customers are also facing problems. The Government may have its own priorities but if it does not pay heed to our problem, protest will be the only way left. But we first want to explain to the Government our side of the problem in the next one week,” he said.