Diesel costlier than petrol in Odisha for third consecutive day
Bhubaneswar, Oct 22 (PTI) With diesel costlier than petrol for the third consecutive day in the state, the Odisha government Monday sought a clarification from the Centre as to why the base price of diesel was more.
Odisha Finance Minister S B Behera blamed the NDA government's "faulty" policy for the anomaly in the price of diesel.
A litre of diesel costs Rs 80.40 in Bhubaneswar on Monday, while the price of petrol remained at Rs 80.27, a difference of 13 paise.
The situation is considered the first of its kind in the country.
Blaming the Centre over the fluctuation of base price of diesel, Behera targeted Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who belongs to the state. "The union minister (Pradhan) has been misleading the country and the state," Behera said.
Stating that the base price of diesel is nearly Rs 5.13 higher than petrol, Behera said, "Since the day NDA came to power there is a deviation in the pricing and tax has been hiked by almost 330 per cent as compared to the UPA period.
"The base price of petrol was Rs 48.89 and Rs 44.72 for diesel in 2014. However, in 2018 the base price of petrol stands at Rs 43.08 against Rs 48.21 for diesel," he said.
The opposition BJP rejected Behera's allegation and asked the state government to bring down the VAT on diesel which, it said, will ultimately help to reduce the price.
"The state government has been charging VAT of Rs 22.50 paise on every litre of diesel being sold in the state. It should cut VAT," BJP spokesman Golak Mohapatra said.
While the price of diesel is Rs 77.24 per litre in neighbouring West Bengal, the same costs Rs 80.53 in Jaleswar in Odisha Balasore district, only 5 km away by the national highways.
Claiming that the sale of diesel has dropped by 50 per cent in Odisha due to its high rates, Utkal Petroleum Dealers Association said it would soon submit a memorandum to the Odisha government seeking cut in VAT on diesel.
"We have been preparing a memorandum to submit before the Odisha's finance minister. Most of our petrol pumps on the national highways are sittng idle as inter-state vehicles buy fuel from other states," association general secretary Sanjay Lath said.
The price of diesel remained high in Odisha as the state government charges 26 per cent VAT on fuel, while other states have different tax slabs for petrol and diesel. PTI AAM KK MKJ
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