The hike in petrol and diesel prices in Punjab just ahead of sowing of various kharif crops has riled farmer outfits in Punjab, who have decided to oppose the government move tooth and nail.
“At this time of the year, Punjab’s 18.50 lakh farmers are major users of diesel in the state as around 42 lakh hectares area is to be cultivated under agricultural crops like cotton, paddy, maize, basmati of kharif season as well under horticulture crops in a coming couple of months,” said Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Dakaunda, General Secretary Jagmohan Singh.
He added that given the timing of the hike, it will put a great burden on farmers.
“For all sowing operations, several tractor mounted attachments are required which mean huge consumption of diesel,” he pointed out.
The prices have increased with the raising of VAT on fuel from 11.80 per cent to 11.15 per cent on diesel and on petrol from 20.11 per cent to 23.30 per cent. With this, the prices of diesel and petrol have increased from Rs 62.02 per litre to Rs. 64.06 per liter and Rs. 70.38 to Rs. 72.43 per litre, respectively. Also, the new rate is much higher than Chandigarh.
In Punjab, lakhs of farming implements are diesel operated, including tractors, 1.5 lakh diesel operated tubewells, 50,000 farm residue management machines.
Farmer organizations said that they will protest against this hike.
“Even to manage wheat stubble to prevent the field fires, diesel operated stubble management machinery is required to be run in the fields several times which is an extra burden on the farmers,” added Jagmohan Singh.
Gurmeet Monty Sehgal, the spokesperson of Petrol Pump Dealers Association Punjab, said that only the sale of fuel that is taking place is in rural areas because of the opening of the farming activities while there is no sale in the urban areas.
“Our rate is not competitive with the neighboring states. For instance in Punjab diesel and petrol are Rs 2.02 and Rs 3.96 per litre costlier, respectively, than Chandigarh. And also our other border districts’ sale would come down due to lower prices in the neighboring states,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines