Other States

Punjab farmers protest fuel hike

Akali Dal asks PM to cut Central excise on petrol, diesel

With summer crop sowing in full swing across Punjab, farmers are upset at the sharp increase in diesel prices. Several farmer organisations on Tuesday staged protests across the State, accusing the BJP government at the Centre of ruining their livelihood.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the BJP, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reduce the Central excise on petrol and diesel so as to bring the fuel prices down. It also asked the Punjab government to cut the State taxes on fuels.

Members of 10 farmer unions staged demonstrations at 200 petrol pumps in the State. “We staged demonstrations at around 200 petrol pumps in almost all districts of the State...,” Bharti Kisan Union (Dakaunda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh said.

Despite the fall in international crude oil prices, Mr. Singh said, the domestic fuel prices were rising, affecting farmers at the time of paddy sowing. “The input cost of paddy cultivation is set to shoot up with diesel getting costlier. The government has broken the backbone of farmers, who have already been in financial distress,” he said.

SAD president and former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reduce the Central excise on fuels to help out farmers, hauliers and others.

In a letter, Mr. Badal said the steep increase in petrol and diesel prices caused hardship to farmers sowing ‘kharif’ crops. The prices of essential items also shot up because of the increased cost of goods transport. In these circumstances, he said, it would be in the best interests of society to reverse the trend of increasing fuel prices.

He also wrote to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and requested him to reduce the State taxes on fuels. “High quotient of State taxes on fuel had affected farmers the most. Farmers have been hit by an unreasonable hike in the State taxes on diesel. Trade and industry, which are trying to get back on their feet after a three-month lockdown, is also feeling the pinch of high State taxes on fuel,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 12:21:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-farmers-protest-fuel-hike/article31958616.ece

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