Around 400 petrol pumps in Delhi that also sell Compressed Natural Gas, will remain shut for 23 hours starting 6 am tomorrow in protest against Delhi government's refusal to reduce Value Added Tax on diesel and petrol. The protest was called by Delhi Petrol Dealers Association on October 10 - days after 13 states slashed VAT following a request by Union minister Arun Jaitley.
Announcing the shutdown, the Delhi petrol dealers' association had said customers were flocking to buy petrol and diesel from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where fuel was cheaper.
"The price reduction in UP and Haryana has led to a decline in sale of petrol by 20% and diesel by 30% in Delhi till October 15. It is expected to further decline in the coming days," Nischal Singhania, President of Delhi petrol dealers Association, told NDTV. Talks between the petrol pump owners and Delhi Government regarding reduction in VAT on petrol and diesel in the capital has been inconclusive so far and they have decided to go ahead with the 23-hour shutdown, he added.
Today, petrol price in Delhi was slashed by 25 paise and came down to Rs. 81.74 per litre. Diesel was sold at 17 paise less -- at Rs. 75.19 per litre. Across the other major metros, petrol was priced at Rs. 87.21 per litre in Mumbai, Rs. 83.58 in Kolkata and Rs. 84.96 in Chennai.
The Centre had slashed fuel prices on October 4 by Rs. 2.50 in an attempt to provide relief to consumers and the states were asked to match the cut. The cut was effected through a slash of Rs. 1.50 per litre in excise duty, while oil marketing companies absorbed the rest. A VAT cut meant the states would have to bear a cut of Rs. 2.50 for each litre of petrol sold.
After Centre's request, BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura and others, announced price cuts.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that PM Modi's government increased excise duty on fuel by Rs. 10 and today reduced cost just Rs. 2.50. "It is a sham. The Centre should have at least reduced prices by Rs. 10 per litre," he tweeted.
Kerala -- another opposition-ruled state -- said there would be tax cuts only if fuel prices were brought down to the level when PM Modi assumed office in May 2014.
The petrol dealers' body had also flagged concerns about environment, since the cleaner Euro VI grade fuel is currently available only in the National Capital Territory. Buying lower grade fuel from the neighbouring states will push up the pollution level in the national capital, they said.