Kolkata, July 5 (UNI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday expressed serious concern over spiralling prices of petrol and diesel and requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the taxes charged by the Centre on fuel be substantially reduced to give much-needed relief to common people and check the overall inflammatory trend in the country.
“Shockingly, the retail price of petrol in many states across the country has crossed an unprecedented Rs 100 per litre,” Banejree, the TMC supremo, said in her letter to the PM.
“I have come to learn that petrol and diesel prices were hiked by your government 8 times since May 4, 2021, and out of these, prices were hiked 6 times in June 2021 and shockingly, 4 times in a week. These rather cruel hikes in petrol and diesel prices have affected the common people most adversely and have directly impacted the dangerously rising inflation in the country,” the letter stated.
Besides spiralling fuel cost, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in the country rose by 12.94% in May 2021, compared to the same month last year. The consumer price index rose by 6.30% where the prices of edible oils rose by 30.8%, eggs by 15.2%, fruits 12% and health-related items.
Much of this inflation was triggered by the petrol and diesel price hikes. “I may add here, that such major inflation in prices reduces the real income of the common people as well. I express my deep concern and anguish to you for pursuing policies that have resulted in this significant hardship for the common people of the nation.
“During covid pandemic, the Government of India has collected revenue of staggering Rs 3.71 lakh crore (Rs 3,71,725 crore) from oil and petroleum products in the financial year of 2020-21,” she added.
“In fact, over the last six years of your government, India’s tax collection from oil and petroleum products has jumped by a staggering 370% since 2014-15, due to constant hikes in central excise duty on oil and petroleum products, including cesses and surcharges, at the cost of the common people,” Banerjee pointed out.
“Here I may mention that the government of West Bengal has voluntarily given a rebate to both petrol and diesel as a token of our empathy for the common people.
“I am also alarmed by the fact that the Government of India is constantly increasing the Cess component of Central taxes revenue which results in denying the states its legitimate share of 42 per cent of tax collected by the Govt of India. I sincerely urge you to desist from the anti-federalist trend developed in the last few years,” the letter of Mamata Banerjee to PM concluded.