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Steep hike in petrol price unjustified

By asking states to reduce sales tax in petroleum products, Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora adopted an escape route to wriggle himself out of the muddle following the unjustified steep hike in the prices of  petrol and diesel.

The states which have a big source of revenue earning would not be ready to reduce the sales tax on petrol that is as high as 34 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 32 per cent in Mumbai, 30 per cent in Punjab and Tamil Nadu, 27 per cent  in West Bengal and 20 per cent in Haryana.

Since there is no uniformity in sales tax in the states, the rates of petroleum products have also wide variation across the country which results in smuggling from one state to another. The Centre can kill two birds with one stone by asking the states to bring petroleum products under the domain of VAT and charge equal rate of 4 per cent.

On the one hand, this will bring relief to the consumers. And on the other, it will ensure uniform tax rates as also reduce chances of theft as at present.

S.K. KHOSLA Chandigarh


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— Editor-in-Chief

II

Following the steep increase in the international prices, the hike in petrol and diesel prices in the country is perfectly justified. The government will have to ensure that the transporters do not exploit the situation and increase the freight charges.

Moreover, there is too much misuse of petrol and diesel. Why should one use scooter or car even to buy vegetables in the nearby market? Instead, why cannot we go to the market by foot or bicycle?

Similarly, government officials too are misusing the vehicles for personal work. This must stop forthwith. The government must encourage car pool to conserve petrol and diesel.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

III

The hike in the petrol and diesel prices was on the cards, but the decision was delayed due to the Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory. The hike will affect the common man, especially the middle class.

Since the formation of the UPA government at the Centre, inflation has gone up. Though two financial experts — Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr P. Chidambaram — are running the country, prices of all essential commodities are going up. And now comes the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel.  Are the UPA allies so “power-hungry” that they don’t care for people’s concerns?

S. K. NAYAR, Panchkula

IV

The petrol price hike will hit both the middle and upper classes. The steep hike comes as a bolt from the blue. This is bound to affect the prices of essential, throwing every household budget off the gear.

Instead of increasing the fuel prices, the government should clamp down other less important subsidies and divert them towards fuel prices to keep them stable.

KRISHNA R. PATEL, Narsinghpur (MP)

V

While statistics make it clear that the hike was inevitable (with the mounting global prices at a $73 a barrel) as also other constraints, the government has ensured that the hike was minimal. The burden will also be Minister for talks. Their demand for a complete 100 per cent rollback is not justified given the ground realities.

KANAV GUPTAm, Bathinda City

VI

Over 40 per cent of the current petrol prices in India constitute taxes that go to the government. The corresponding figure in the US is around 50 per cent. Petrol prices must be kept high to check wasteful consumption, conserve the fast depleting resource and arrest the rapid deterioration in the environmental quality across the world and the resultant climate change.

However, the benefits accruing to the government due to high prices must be utilised exclusively for environmental preservation and improvement of the roads and for ensuring long-term energy security of the country. In any case, the private and public sector oil companies must not be allowed to excessively profit from the high petroleum prices.

R.P. RAMMOHAN, Hyderabad

No water supply since March

The residents of Street 9-R, Right Dogar Basti, Faridkot, are not being supplied drinking water since March 2006. In all, the residents of 90 houses of Street 9-R are badly affected. The onus for non-supply of potable water squarely lies on the Public Health Department (Urban), Faridkot.

Surprisingly, the authorities promptly send us bills for payment. The Sub-Divisional Officer has turned a deaf ear to our requests regarding non-supply of water. We demand immediate restoration of water supply to our area.

RAJINDER SINGH, Faridkot

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