BHUBANESWAR: Taking its fight against the Centre to the streets over the , the ruling on Friday kicked off a three-day statewide agitation.
Hitting back at the BJD for taking the issue to streets, the said the ruling party in is trying to play politics over fuel price issue despite the state government is gaining huge revenue from petrol and diesel.
After disrupting the assembly proceedings over the issue, the BJD MLAs and workers of party’s frontal organisations staged peaceful demonstration before the fuel stations across the city for two hours from 10am till noon.
The leaders also distributed leaflets to the people on Centre’s failure to control fuel prices.
“The BJD-led NDA government has betrayed the common man of the country by failing to control prices of petrol and diesel. Even when the price of crude oil has reduced drastically in the global market, the Centre has failed to check fuel prices,” said BJD general secretary Arun Sahoo.
Urging the Centre to immediately bring down fuel prices, the BJD leader said his party would intensify the protest if prices of petroleum products are not brought under control.
Retail selling prices of every litre of petrol and diesel in Bhubaneswar on Friday was Rs 78.94 and Rs 77.42 respectively.
To make fuel price hike, a major issue against the Centre ahead of the forthcoming elections, the party has planned similar protests in other parts of the state on Saturday and Sunday.
Slamming BJD for playing politics over the issue, Union petroleum minister said the protest is a sign of mental bankruptcy of the regional party.
“The state government generates revenue of around Rs 7,000 crore from petrol and diesel. There has been a growth of over 139 per cent in VAT revenue from petrol and diesel. Instead of reducing tax to bring down the price, they are doing politics by staging dharna on streets,” said Dharmendra.
Responding to Dharmendra, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said it’s unfortunate that India has such an inefficient petroleum minister, who prefers to do politics in Odisha while the fuel price rise is burning a hole in the pocket of the common man.
State finance department sources said the Odisha government generated Rs 4,800 crore as VAT from petrol and diesel during 2017-18 financial year. It targets to generate Rs 5,600 crore during the current financial year.
The Centre levies excise duty of around Rs 19.48 while state generates around Rs 15.45 in every litre of petrol while in diesel both the state and centre collects around Rs 15.33 in every litre as VAT and excise duty respectively.
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