Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal government does not look in a mood to provide relief to the people from higher fuel prices. When various state governments decided to relieve their people from higher petrol prices, the Delhi government’s policies have forced consumers to flock to Gurugram and Noida to get their tanks filled.
Petrol sales down by 50 per cent in Delhi
In a letter to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Petrol dealers association has requested him to cut Value added tax on petrol and diesel. The petrol pumps in Delhi are exceptionally hit by the state’s VAT regime as they are forced to sell petrol at Rs 9 higher than the prices in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
According to the association, the petrol sales in Delhi have halved after the central government’s announcement of cutting down excise duty on fuels.
“Higher VAT in Delhi will have a negative impact resulting in insurmountable loss of sales of petrol pumps of Delhi and revenue to our state,” Anurag Narain, President, Delhi-Petrol Dealers Association wrote in the letter.
Narain pointed out that the AAP government has been proactive in increasing VAT on fuels. In July 2020, the government enforced a 30 per cent VAT tax on fuels. The 2020 increase marked an overall sixth-time increase in VAT by the Kejriwal government.
Delhites are filling their tanks in UP and Haryana
A huge chunk of office-goers travels to Noida, Gurugram, and Ghaziabad on a daily basis. They comprise both who work in these cities and travel from Delhi to their workplace and vice-versa. Both Manohar Lal Khattar and Yogi Adityanath governments have slashed VAT on fuels by Rs 12. Currently, one litre of petrol in Delhi costs Rs 104.10 while in Noida and Ghaziabad it costs 95.49 and Rs 95.24 respectively. Similarly, in Gurgaon, it costs Rs 95.88 per litre. Since all these districts are in the vicinity of Delhi, it becomes profitable for the consumers to run to these cities and get their tanks filled. This has led to a 50 per cent decrease in petrol sales in the state.
As reported by TFI, The central government had reduced the excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10. A similar reduction in value-added tax (VAT) was announced by various BJP-ruled states and Union territories as they slashed VAT by a minimum of Rs 3.20 in Bihar to a maximum of Rs 12 in Uttar Pradesh. However, except Odisha, non-BJP ruled states refused to pass on the benefits of lower excise duty to their people and decided to continue with existing VAT charges in the state. After getting criticised by BJP, Punjab and Rajasthan governments finally caved in and slashed VAT on the fuels, but the Delhi government did not buzz.
Kejriwal’s politics is hurting the daily lives of citizens
Arvind Kejriwal’s government has been under criticism for various reasons. Its mismanagement during the Corona crisis had almost deranged the capital’s reputation in healthcare. Recently, it made an anti-Hindu move by banning crackers on the eve of Diwali. Then its decision to clean the Yamuna river with the help of clean water was seen as a mockery of Chhath Puja. All these controversies along with its constant fight with BJP for power in the state have put the lives of the people of Delhi under immense stress.
The only plausible explanation behind Mr Kejriwal’s decision not to pass on the benefits of the lower fuel prices to Delhites seems to be that it will end up crediting the BJP government in the centre for the lower price. So, he seems to be delaying it for the time when the news of lower excise duty gets old enough to fade out of people’s memory. It’s high time the AAP government should rise above petty politics and prioritise the needs of the citizens of Delhi over political browny points.