New Delhi, June 12 (UNI) Terming the unbearable escalation in the prices of the petroleum products as "unnecessary and avoidable", the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) General Secretary Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra has demanded a high level probe by a joint committee comprising MPs and economic experts in the alleged manipulated figures which form the basis of the logic extended by the UPA government for the hike.
Talking to mediapersons here today, Prof Chandumajra stated that the figure of Rs 245000 crore as deficit of the oil companies, mentioned by the Prime Minister and on the basis of which the prices of petroleum products had been increased, was in contradiction with their annual reports depicting the hefty profits.
The Central Government had itself presented the data showing profits of the oil companies in Parliament on 26 Feburary. And, the experts should also analyze the reasons due to which the refining costs per liter in India were much higher as compared to other countries; that too while the country invited foreign investment stressing that the labour in India was comparatively cheaper. ''It is obvious that the Oil Companies are manipulating the figures whenever and wherever it suits them,'' he added.
The Akali leader mentioned that during 2006-07, the Central Government earned Rs 93,000 crore on account of sales tax on petroleum products; and during 2007-08, this collection ncreased to Rs one hundred lakh crore. It is pertinent to mention here that the total collection in the country from sales tax was Rs 4 lakh crore during the preceding year. Prof Chandumajra said that it was believable that with the rising cost of the crude oil in the international market, the profit of the Oil Companies decreased but showing loss was implausible.
Prof Chandumajra sharply criticised the Central Government for its total failure to control inflation and to protect the interests of the common man, saying the abdication of this social responsibility was against all canons of justice. He said UPA had no moral right to remain in power.
He said the UPA government which had itself effected the hike had no justification to impress upon the state governments to reduce VAT and other taxes on these products. This suggestion, if implemented, would render the State Governments helpless in meeting their unavoidable commitments in the field of education, health and even the payment of salary and pensions to the employees.
The Akali leader ridiculed the "tantrums and dramatics" of the Congress leaders of Punjab who had rushed to present a memorandum to the Punjab Governor to gain cheap publicity. He advised them to proceed to Delhi instead, while urging their party leaders running the Government at the Centre to reduce the prices of petroleum products and save the common man.
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