DAYS AFTER a Mohali-based petrol pump owner died by suicide on Wednesday, the Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association on Saturday declared a one-day bandh call from 8 am to 5 pm on July 29. They also demanded an inquiry into the petrol pump owner’s death by a sitting judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The association announced that they will also close petrol pumps on July 26 for half an hour on the day of the last rites of the deceased.
Jarnail Singh Garhdiwala, a senior member of the association, along with other members including Harpreet Bajwa, Kanwar Shamsher Singh Guman, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, and Surjit Singh Soeta, said that the allegations leveled by the deceased in his 9-page suicide note against officials of the Chandigarh administration, officials of the Petroleum Corporation and Punjab Police must be probed by a sitting judge of the High Court.
They alleged that there is a nexus between officials and some petrol pump dealers in Chandigarh, where the diesel is cheaper than in Punjab state because of the low VAT rate in UT. Due to the low VAT rate against Punjab, oil is cheaper in Chandigarh than Punjab, which is hitting petrol pumps located close to Chandigarh but technically in Punjab, quite hard.
The members said that the deceased had alleged that Chandigarh’s local cess and taxes are deliberately kept low on petroleum products due to which the rates are higher in Punjab and people living in Mohali are getting their vehicles filled from petrol pumps in Chandigarh as it is close by.
The 76-year-old petrol pump owner was a resident of Sector 69, Mohali. He owned two petrol pumps – one in Mohali and another in Fatehgarh Sahib. He alleged that some dealers in Chandigarh, in connivance with officials, had managed to keep the VAT rate lower in UT due to which petrol and diesel were cheaper there. He had also mentioned that because of this he was facing a loss of Rs 80 lakh per month and had turned bankrupt. On the basis of his suicide note, and the complaint made by his son, UT Police have booked six officials of an oil firm under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC.
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