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DCCJU holds demonstration against hike in fuel, gas prices

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820 per cent hike in excise duty on diesel & 258 per cent on petrol in last six years unprecedented: Bhalla

Jammu: District Congress Committee held a demonstration at Shaheedi Chowk, Jammu to protest the incessant hike in petrol, diesel and gas prices across the country. The protest was organized by DCC Jammu (U) and led by Former Minister Vice President JKPCC Raman Bhalla;  Former Minister Yogesh Sawhney- General Secretary JKPCC & In-charge District President Jammu (U), JKPCC Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma and Manmohan Singh, General Secretary JKPCC, a press release issued here said.

The press release added that raising slogans and carrying play cards against price hike of petrol and diesel, the senior leaders and prominent activists held a protest demonstration expressing anger against the current dispensation and alleged Modi led government for ‘heavily’ burdening the poor and common man when the prices of crude oil were at lowest sides as compared to UPA government but unprecedented hike in unjustified and should be rolled back.

Speaking on the occasion, Bhalla attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government over the rise of petrol and diesel price, alleged that excise duty on diesel has been hiked by 820 per cent and 258 per cent on petrol in the last six years. The party has demanded an explanation of how exactly has the government spent Rs 20 lakh crore that it “collected by multiple hikes in excise duty on both petrol and diesel” in last six years. Excise duty is a form of tax imposed on goods for their production, licensing and sale. Former Minister said, “today, in Jammu, the petrol prices have reached an all-time high of Rs 88.70 a litre. Diesel has reached Rs 75.88 litre and what is more shocking is the fact that during the Congress’ regime, when UPA left power in May 2014, the international crude oil prices were 108 dollars per barrel. It has come down to all most half, which is 55.52 dollar per barrel.

He alleged that the central government has earned more than Rs 20 lakh crore from this “additional” excise tax and if the “Central government reduces the additional excise, withdraws the additional excise, which it has changed in the last six years, the petrol prices will fall down to Rs 61.92 and diesel price will fall down to Rs 47.51. “The Central Government has collected through petrol and diesel excise more than 20 lakh crore rupees in the last 6 years. So, where this huge amount has gone? Our Jawans, our government employees, their DA is being cut. Our small entrepreneurs, our MSMEs, they are continuously under pressure from the bank to repay the loans and they are continuously under the pressure of the taxation authorities. There is huge unemployment across the country. The farmers are committing suicide, so where has this amount of more than Rs 20 lakh crore has gone?” he asked. He also criticised the government for LPG price hike.

This, Bhalla said, was akin to engaging in “extortion from the people” and “profiteering” at a time of Covid-19 crisis. “At a time when the crude prices are at an all-time low, the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas are at their highest,” he alleged. He demanded the government a roll-back of the increase in prices while alleging that the incessant hike in fuel prices was an additional burden to the common people who were at the limit of their woes owing to the Covid-19 induced lockdown for months”.

Former Minister Sawhney speaking on the occasion  said the spiralling prices of essential commodities has badly affected the middle classes and the poor families, which refuse to stabilize despite concern shown and promises made by the government. While alleging BJP for hypocrisy over the inflation, he sought urgent measures to ensure no more job loss because of the pandemic situation stating that unemployment and inflation have pushed people to the verge of starvation.

Former Minister lamented that unemployment and inflation in Jammu and Kashmir were all time high, financial health of the people was not good while the present pandemic has snatched away the source of livelihood from billions.“Thousands of youth have gone jobless and their families are at the verge of starvation,” he said and demanded emergency measures to ensure no more job loss in all the sectors.

He further added that Congress was not like the BJP which, he alleged, compromised on secularism for the sake of attaining power. “To keep the country integral and united, the Constitution refers to secularism and this ideology is in the interest of the nation,” he said. He said instead of discussing failure in providing jobs, depriving the youth and businessmen of better services, snatching land rights and statehood, BJP only thumping its chest over imaginary development in J&K.

JKPCC Chief Spokesman Ravinder Sharma urged upon the administration of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to pay urgent attention as the public is suffering badly. He said that the BJP’s claim of providing ‘pro-people’ governance stand exposed as Central Government has failed miserably to address the issues affecting the general public. He castigated the BJP government, saying that the common man is going through the worst sufferings under the current dispensation, which has sold its soul to few businessmen, ignoring the agonies of the countrymen. He said that the country is presently going through a state of crisis.


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