Badal asks Centre to slash diesel prices

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Chandigarh, Nov 19 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Union Government to proportionately reduce the prices of petroleum products in lines with the reduction in crude oil prices in the world.

In a statement here, Mr Badal said that the prices of petroleum products including diesel were increased in the country in direct proportion to rise in prices of crude oil prices.

However despite the reduction in global prices, the Union Government had not moved forward to slash the diesel and petrol prices in the country, the Chief Minister said.

"This unpopular policy in the backdrop of inflation, was not only cruel on the people but also against larger national interest", the statement added.

Pointing out that Punjab was among the leading per capita consumers of diesel and other petroleum products, Mr Badal said that diesel was also used in the State's agricultural operations and its high prices have only crippled the indebted farmers even further. The State Government, which is already levying the lowest VAT rates on petroleum products in the country, had further reduced the VAT rate by 50 per cent on the quantum of increase, thereby passing on a net benefit of Rs 70 crore to consumers.

In view of the substantially reduced international crude oil prices, it is imperative that the rates of diesel, petrol and LPG gas must be reduced forthwith by Government so as to provide relief to the people of the country, Mr Badal said.

He appealed to the government to reduce the prices by at least 30 per cent in order to provide some succor to the people.

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