The motor strike called by various transport trade unions against frequent increase in fuel prices had its echo in the state assembly on Wednesday with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan blaming the Centre for the present situation. CPI(M) MLA P K Sasi took up the issue of the dawn-to-dusk strike by transport workers and wanted the state government to take up with Centre the problems faced by common man due to hike in petrol and diesel price. He also alleged that it was mainly due to Centre’s “wrong tax rate policy.”
Replying to the submission, Vijayan said the main reason for the price rise was petroleum companies “plundering” and the tax structure of the Centre. The state government has not increased the tax rate of petroleum products other than the cess introduced during the previous Congress-led UDF rule, Vijayan said while rejecting the UDF opposition charge that the state was also responsible for the price raise.
Attacking the Centre, the Chief Minister said handing over the power to petroleum companies to determine the price of petroleum products was the main reason for the present “uncontrolled” raise in price of fuel. “The BJP-led NDA government is following the same policy introduced by the previous Congress led UPA,” Vijayan said adding it was to cover this up, the UDF was propagating that state tax has resulted in price hike.
Vijayan said the central excise for petrol and diesel which stood at Rs 11.48 in 2015 was now Rs 19.48. “This is nearly 69 per cent increase,” he pointed out. The central government was responsible for the current situation, he alleged. Vijayan also said the state government would take up the matter with the Centre.