The Trinamool Congress (TMC) will stage a sit-in protest across West Bengal rising fuel prices in the country on July 10 and 11, following all COVID protocols, informed TMC leader Partha Chatterjee on Monday. “Sit-in protests will be staged against hike in fuel prices in every block and town of West Bengal on July 10 and July 11, following all COVID protocols,” said Chatterjee.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the “cruel hikes” in prices have “brought great distress” to the people, noting the prices of petrol and diesel were “hiked eight times since May”, of which six times were in June alone
This comes hours after Banerjee on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ‘substantially’ reduce taxes charged by the Central government on petrol and diesel, and to ‘check the overall inflationary trend in the country’.
In a letter addressing PM Modi, Mamata said, “I am alarmed by the fact that the Government of India is constantly increasing the Cess component of Central tax revenues which results in denying the States its legitimate share of 42 per cent of the tax collected by Government of India, since Cess accrues wholly with the Government of India, without sharing with the States,” said the West Bengal Chief Minister in her letter.
“I sincerely urge you to desist from the anti-federalist trend developed in the last few years. It is my earnest request that the taxes charged by the Central Government on petrol and diesel be substantially reduced to give much-needed relief to the common people and also to check the overall inflationary trend in the country today,” she said.
The West Bengal Chief Minister alleged that in the midst of this 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 2020-21.
The West Bengal Chief Minister stated that over the last six years, the BJP-led central government’s tax collection from oil and petroleum products has jumped by a staggering 370 per cent since 2014-15 due to constant hikes in Central Excise Duty on oil and petroleum products including cesses and surcharges.
“Over the last six years of your Government, the Government of India’s tax collection from oil and petroleum products has jumped by a staggering 370 per cent 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,” said the letter.
In her letter to the PM, Mamata pointed out that the retail price of petrol in many States across the country has crossed an unprecedented Rs 100 per litre. She said that petrol and diesel prices were hiked by the Central Government eight times since May 4, 2021, and out of these, prices were hiked six times in the month of June 2021 and four times in one week.
Terming the hikes in petrol and diesel prices ‘cruel’, she said that they have affected the common people most adversely and have directly impacted the ‘dangerously rising’ inflation in the country.
The West Bengal Chief Minister further stated in her letter that the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in the country rose by 12.94 per cent in May 2021, compared to May 2020.
Consumer Price Index rose by 6.30 per cent where the prices of edible oils used by common people every day, rose by 30.8 per cent, eggs by 15.2 per cent, fruits by 12 per cent and hearth related items, in the middle of the pandemic, by as much as 8.44 per cent, said Mamata.