BJP members of House panel flag rising fuel prices

BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, who chairs the Standing Committee on Petroleum. File   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

An overwhelming majority of members of the Standing Committee on Petroleum, at a meeting on June 17, felt that petrol and diesel should be brought under the GST regime to avoid the multiple taxation by the Centre and the States, which they claimed was responsible for the rise in fuel prices.

The committee is chaired by BJP member Ramesh Bidhuri. Though a select few members, including CPI(M)’s K. Sivadasan opposed the idea.

All the MPs, including those belonging to the BJP, according to sources, expressed concern over the rising fuel prices and posed some sharp questions to Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor.

The Congress recently pointed out that the prices of petrol and diesel had increased over 25 times in the last month and a half. Both diesel and petrol have become dearer by over ₹ 6 since May 2, when results of the Assembly polls of four States and a Union Territory were announced.

Mr. Kapoor, according to the sources, quoting the example of Delhi, explained that the base price of petrol was merely ₹ 36. But it was being sold at nearly ₹ 97 a litre. The difference in the base price and the selling price was taxes both by the Centre and the State.

‘A flogging horse’

The Opposition members said the government could no longer be indifferent to the spiralling costs, which had a cascading effect on other essential commodities. “Fuel is being used as a flogging horse to make up for all the revenue deficit. If this flogging is already hurting the common man, the government has to step in,” one of them said.

A war of words erupted between Mr. Bidhuri and Congress’s Pradyut Bordoloi, when the former said price escalation was nothing new.

A member who attended the meeting said, “Mr. Bidhuri claimed that in 2003, the petrol price was ₹33 a litre, but by 2012, it had risen to ₹ 66, a 100 per cent increase. To this, Mr. Bordoloi pointed out that during the UPA rule, international oil prices had shot up to $144 a barrel, while the current rate was $78”.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 9:19:27 PM |

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