Around 1,400 petrol pumps in Jharkhand join strike over demand for VAT reduction
Around 1,400 petrol pumps across Jharkhand remained closed on Tuesday, demanding a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on motor fuels. The strike was called by Jharkhand Petroleum Dealers' Association (JPDA) and received an overwhelming response from the petrol pump dealers, reports PTI.
The petrol pump strike inconvenienced the people of the state as all the petrol pumps were shut. Many motorists who visited the pumps to fill tanks had to return empty-handed, the news agency further reported.
Sharad Dudani, general secretary of JPDA said that the petrol pump dealers in the state were left with no option but to go on strike as their demand to reduce VAT from current 22 per cent to 17 per cent on petrol and diesel, as well as clearance of outstanding dues of government institutions fell on deaf ears.
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He also said that several petrol pumps in Jharkhand, especially those located along the national highways, have been incurring losses as petrol and diesel are costlier in the state as compared to neighbouring states such as Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and UP, he said.
Because of the high rates of fuel, truckers and other customers have been purchasing fuel from pumps situation in the border areas of neighbouring states because of lower pricing. This has been resulting in revenue losses to the state exchequer and impacting the business of the petrol pump dealers in Jharkhand as well.
The strike also comes at a time, when the central government has reduced the excise duty rate on both petrol and diesel in early November this year, prompting several state governments to reduce their respective VAT rates on petrol and diesel. This gave a much-awaited breather to the motorists and non-motorists as well.
JPDA also claims that the Jharkhand government is not willing to talk to the petrol pump dealers over the issues. They further claimed that around ₹15 crore is yet to be cleared by the state government for fuel purchases.