Stokes raps HP Govt for not slashing VAT on petro products

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Shimla, Jul 8 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition Vidya Stokes today alleged that the BJP government in Himachal had vested interest in hiking prices as it was not prepared to slash VAT on petroleum products.

Addressing a press conference here, she said prices of petroleum products had to be hiked marginally in view of quantum jump in prices of crude oil in the international market and most of the states, including the BJP ruled states had cut VAT and sales tax on Petroleum products to provide succor to people.

''However, the Himachal Government is playing politics and hoping that inflation and price rise would add to its electoral fortunes,'' she charged.

Attacking the new power policy of the government to have competitive bidding for free power in hydro-power projects and a fixed amount as upfront money, Ms Stokes said there should be open bidding for upfront premium also.

Referring to Brakel Corporation controversy, she said the vacillating stand of the government had created utter confusion and now the shift in the stand of the government and institution of vigilance probe had further confounded the confusion.

She reiterated the charge that the state government was taking credit for centrally sponsored scheme and said that National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), which had been extended to all twelve districts and the farm loan waiver scheme to provide relief to debt ridden farmers were centrally sponsored schemes and fully funded by the Centre.

''The Centre is providing adequate funds to Himachal and recently the state was sanctioned Rs 120 crore for strengthening of infrastructural and other facilities in Government Medical College, Tanda in Kangra district,'' she added.

Replying to a question, she said the performance of the government during past six months had been lack lusture and there was nothing for the government to boast about.

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