Updated 5:41 am, Oct 07, 2019

Punjab petrol dealers threaten to go on hunger strike from | SNE

By  outlook .
Jan 23, 2018

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Chandigarh, Jan 22 Chandigarh owners in Punjab today threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow to press for reduction in taxes on petrol and diesel and also said that smuggling of petroleum products was causing massive loss to them.

Addressing a press conference here, Petrol Pump Dealers’ Association of Punjab President Paramjit Singh Doaba said, “If the Punjab government does not heed to their demands, they will intensify their protest by shutting down petrol pumps across the state. We have submitted numerous representations to the government, but it has turned a deaf ear to our pleas, leaving us with no choice but to resort to an agitation.

The association claimed that the high VAT rates on petrol and diesel as compared to neighbouring states had led to revenue loss of Rs 40,000 crore in last 17 years.

The disparity in VAT in comparison to neighbouring Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh has led to lower sales, also causing revenue losses to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore per annum to the Punjab government, PPDAP Spokesperson G S Chawla said. The state’s revenue, due to lower sales of petrol and diesel, declined by Rs 190 crore in the first half of 2017-18 in comparison to the corresponding period last year, he said.

At present, tax rates on petrol and diesel in Punjab are 37.54 per cent and 17.78 per cent, respectively.

However, tax rate on petrol in Haryana, HP, Delhi, Chandigarh stand at 26.25, 27, 27, 24.77 respectively. While VAT on diesel Haryana, HP, Delhi, Chandigarh stand at 17.22, 16, 17.39 and 16.43 per cent, respectively, they said.

Chawla said if VAT and other state levies on petrol in Punjab are reduced from 37.54 per cent to 25 per cent, there will be a loss of 12.54 per cent on the face of it, but the sales will go up by a whopping 100 per cent.

Chawla alleged that smuggling of fuel was taking place at the behest of some excise and taxation officers.

“The only beneficiaries of this losing proposition are the excise and taxation authorities and unscrupulous elements, including dealers, who continue to work in collusion to rob Punjab of its rightful revenue through diversion of business to neighbouring states and smuggling,” he alleged.

Explaining how petrol and diesel was being smuggled into Punjab, Chawla claimed, “Unscrupulous dealers are smuggling lower priced petrol and diesel from the neighbouring states and selling them at market price without paying any VAT to the state. Milk tankers are being used to smuggle them in bulk. Since these supplies have no records, the illegal business does not reflect in sales figures at all.”

Pointing towards a mismatch between the growth in the number of vehicles and declining growth in petrol and diesel sales in Punjab, Chawla said, “While the number of two-wheelers sold in Punjab is 20 per cent higher as compared to Haryana, the growth in petrol sales in Punjab has been just four per cent in stark contrast to Haryana (15.9 per cent)…”

The PPDAP spokesperson said while the disparity in petrol and diesel prices has particularly hit the businesses of petrol pump owners in the border districts of Sangrur, Patiala, Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Mohali, Fathegarh Sahib, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Mansa.

Mohali is the worst affected as it borders Chandigarh, where petrol has become cheaper by Rs 8.24 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.23 per litre since the UT administration reduced VAT on both products by 5 per cent nearly three months ago without any exigency or justifiable reason.

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