A Mohali-based owner of two petrol pumps, 75-year-old GS Chawla wrote a letter to the Punjab and UT Administrator, asking for ‘permission to commit suicide’ after his efforts to get fuel rate parity between Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula failed “due to the adamant attitude of the Chandigarh Administration”. Chawla alleged that the lack of upwards revision of VAT by the Chandigarh Administration, which was to be done in the last 22 months, had resulted in the loss of 80 per cent of his business, as his pumps were situated at zero distance from Chandigarh.
Earlier, Chawla had also sent a complaint against the Chandigarh Administration to the President of India, Prime Minister, Home Minister, Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, CM of Punjab, FM of Punjab, FM of Haryana and a host of other important central and states government functionaries. He had also held a press conference and alleged that there was a collusion between the Chandigarh Administration and Chandigarh’s petrol pump owners to make petrol cheaper by Rs 5 and diesel cheaper by Rs 3 per litre in Chandigarh. He had also presented videos and photographs of the impact of the pricing anomaly.
Speaking about his issues on Monday, Chawla said, “The area of Tricity is spread over just 10×10 kms. Something fishy is going on as billboards and hoardings are illegal in Chandigarh but petrol pumps have erected many, which talk about lower fuel rates in Chandigarh and higher rates in Punjab. How was it allowed? Even in Delhi NCR there is a fuel rate differential of just Rs 0.25 paisa, despite the area being heavily populated with over 5 crore people and comprising three states, including Delhi, Haryana and UP.”
Chawla added, “The Chandigarh administration had lowered VAT twice after issuance of notifications by the central government due to increase in crude prices. Once it was done on Oct 17, 2017 when a reduction of Rs 2.5 on both diesel and petrol was effected. On Oct 4, 2018 again, Rs 1.40 was reduced on both diesel and petrol. All the other states took up the same rates once the crude prices stabilised. However, Chandigarh, with its well thought out strategy aimed at looting the business of Mohali and Panckula, is still continuing with the same rates.”