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At Parliamentary panel meeting, chairman rejects questions on fuel price hike

Petrol pump staff filling fuel for vehicle in Bengaluru. File   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Amid severe criticism of frequent hike in fuel prices, questions on the issue by Opposition leaders at a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum on Friday were shut down by Chairman and BJP leader Ramesh Bidhuri by shifting the blame on States for imposing additional taxes.

According to informed sources, the committee, which was meeting to discuss the demand for grants, saw the Opposition members question Petroleum Ministry officials and representatives of oil marketing companies.

 

Petrol is now retailing above ₹90 per litre in all major cities, including Delhi, and is on the verge of crossing ₹100.

The members wanted to know why despite a historical low in the rate of global crude oil prices the fuel prices are spiralling. “But the Chairman did not let us ask the questions saying that the meeting is solely to discuss the budgetary provisions and a separate meeting will be held for the fuel price hike,” a member said.

Mr. Bidhuri blamed the State governments for the hike instead of the Centre. “He said States should waive the tax to reduce the burden. And the only solution to rationalise the fuel prices is to bring them under the GST regime which will save the common man from multiple taxes levied by both the Centre and States,” another member said.

 

The Opposition-run States have so far opposed the idea since this will adversely impact their revenue collection, which has already been shrunk under the GST regime.

Mr. Bidhuri told The Hindu that the subject of ‘fuel prices’ was already on the agreed list of agenda for the committee’s deliberations. “We will soon call a meeting on the subject once we dispose of the budget deliberations,” he said.

The Congress, at a press conference on Friday, said that in 2014, the crude oil price was $108.05 per barrel and as on date it was $63.65. Despite this, in 2014 in Delhi, the cost of petrol was ₹71.51 per litre while on Friday it stood at ₹90.19 per litre. The cost of crude oil had reduced by 41% while the cost of petrol had risen by 26%.

The CPI(M), in a statement on Thursday, had pointed out that the tax levied by the Centre increased by a whopping 217% since the Modi government took over in 2014.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 12:39:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/at-house-panel-meet-chairman-rejects-questions-on-fuel-price-hike/article33882835.ece

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