Press Trust of india

Transporters protest fuel-price hike; urge govt to hand-hold various sectors

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New Delhi:  Protesting against the increase in petrol and diesel prices amid COVID-19 pandemic, the transporters’ body AIMTC on Friday said it has made operations unviable, and demanded substantial reduction in fuel rates.

This is the time to hand-hold various sectors and not earn revenue, All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the umbrella body of transporters that represents about 95 lakh truckers and entities, said.

Petrol price on Friday was hiked by 57 paise per litre and diesel by 59 paise a litre as oil companies adjusted retail rates – the sixth straight day of increase in rates since oil firms ended an 82-day hiatus of rate revision.

“We strongly denounce daily increase of fuel prices and demand substantial reduction in prices in these critical times, when the entire country is in a storm of COVID–19 pandemic.

“This is the time to facilitate and hand-hold the people of the country and various sectors of economy. The temptation and avarice to collect revenue/ profits at the cost of survival and sustenance of poor common Man should be avoided,” said AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal.

The road transport fraternity strongly protests against the daily hikes that are making operations unviable, he said, adding there have been voices of resentment from across the country against the apathetic attitude of the government.

Daily hike in fuel prices points to persistent apathy of the government towards the common man and road transport fraternity, AIMTC said.

“In the instant prevailing scenario, the government has failed on all fronts. At present, the focus seems to have shifted from ‘saving livelihoods’ and ‘lives of people to revenue generation’ and futile debates. The initial seriousness has gone with the wind,” AIMTC said.

It said the oil marketing companies have increased the price of petrol and diesel for the sixth consecutive day on Friday with utter disregard to the pathetic economic conditions of the consumers, which are largely transporters and farmers.

“The government in collusion with OMCs are passing the hike in excise duty of Rs 10 per litre on petrol and Rs 13 per litre on diesel to consumers, the price of petrol has gone up by Rs 3.31 a litre and that of diesel by Rs 3.42 a litre in just the last six days,” the transporters’ body said.

It will put additional financial strain on the common man as rising fuel cost will foment all round inflation in the country.

The government is getting profit since 2014 on account of falling international crude oil prices but never passed it to the consumers, be it truckers or farmers who use it in a big way, it said.

AIMTC also alleged that the government switched between controlled and dynamic pricing to its convenience.

The central government increased excise duty twice on petrol as well as diesel, and most state governments have hiked cess or VAT on their part, thus squeezing the consumers, the road transport sector in particular, it added.

“About 70 per cent of the retail price of fuel constitutes the Central & State Taxes, which in turn is about 275 per cent and 255 per cent on petrol & diesel, respectively, over the base price. The diesel accounts for 60 per cent of the operating cost for transport, which increases pressure on the operating costs while the freight depend mostly on demand and supply forces,” the AIMTC said.

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