Diesel cess will put 'Aam admi' under huge burden: Assocham

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New Delhi, Dec 26 (UNI) Delhi government need to stress on phasing out diesel-run vehicles with a time bound strategy to curb air pollution, instead of imposing another Cess and putting the 'Aam aadmi' under huge burden, an industry body said today.

Opposing Delhi government's move to impose a cess of 25 paisa per liter on diesel, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) pointed out that if pollution levels in Delhi have increased, diesel run vehicles alone are not responsible for this and proposed Cess is not a viable solution as it won't discourage use of diesel run vehicles in and around Delhi.

The Chamber is of the view that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the last 6-7 years has been consistently asking the State owned oil companies in the downstream sector such as IOCL, BPCL, HPCL and even refining companies in the private sector to completely eliminate sulphur element in diesel.

These companies have succeeded a great deal in doing so and if further pressure is built on them, the oil companies have the potential to produce absolutely sulphur free diesel, so that it does not add to air pollution.

The Assocham has therefore recommended that the Delhi government in consultation with Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry should strive to motivate the oil companies to produce sulphur free diesel for which certain budgetary allocations could be made to them to effectively undertake the job with technological upgradation in their refineries and gradually introduce sulphur free diesel throughout the country.

The alternate suggestion would be to introduce CNG facilities to all vehicles plying on Delhi roads at mass level as the compressed natural gas is completely devoid of pollutant contents. The only problem that the consumer has been facing is its non-availability which the government should make available.

The Chamber has therefore, suggested that the decision to impose 25 paisa per liter Cess on diesel would more serve the ad-hoc purpose and bring in wide scale criticism to Delhi government and thus would land the government in an embarrassing situation.

''The government should immediately withdraw it in its own interest as well in the interest of public welfare,'' Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said in a release.

The release pointed out that not only the Delhi government but the Union government also in the past have imposed several Cess, including that of Education Cess, as a result of which the aam aadmi has already fallen under heavy pressures. Imposition of yet another Cess in the name of environment by Delhi government may prove counter productive and erode the good work that the government has done in the last couple of years, warned the Assocham Secretary General.

UNI

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