Chennai

Fishermen seek waiver of road cess on diesel

Fishermen have urged the Centre to reduce agriculture infrastructure and development cess, which is ₹4 for a litre of diesel, and the additional excise duty which goes towards road and infrastructure cess, which is ₹18 a litre.

“We are unable to buy diesel and many boats remain onshore since the larger boats require between 4,000 litres and 8,000 litres of diesel per voyage. The State government bears the sales tax on diesel for 18,000 litres a year per boat in the mechanised boats and 4,000 litres per boat a year for motorised country craft. But the Centre does not give us any respite. It, instead, burdens us with an additional ₹22 a litre,” said Varadhan, a community leader.

In 2020-21, 97,256 kilo litres of diesel was supplied to fishing boats with a subsidy of ₹157.68 crore.

Posters have come up all over Kasimedu urging the Centre to exempt fishermen from the payment of these two amounts. The posters seek urgent intervention of both the governments. “The State government recently reduced petrol prices but not that of diesel. It can consider bringing down diesel prices at least for fishing boats since only around 20% of the boats go on voyages,” said K. Bharathi of the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association.

Nanjil Ravi of the Akhil Indhiya Meenvar Sangam said Chief Minister M. K. Stalin must write to the Centre on behalf of fisherfolk.

“Boat owners are unable to get loans because banks do not provide loans for boats. They had expected an announcement on the setting up of a bank for the community in the recently concluded Budget session but that did not happen,” he said.

Oil industry experts said reduction in cess would not be possible. “The Centre can reduce the price but the cess is a fixed figure. If the cess is waived for one industry, then others too will start asking for such a measure, which will reduce the government’s income under that head,” he said.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 3:20:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/fishermen-seek-waiver-of-road-cess-on-diesel/article36506531.ece

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