Tripura govt refuses to reduce VAT for aviation fuel

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Agartala, Nov 29 (UNI) The Tripura government has declined to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on aviation fuel while demanding to exert pressure on petroleum companies to cut down their profit margin.

Talking to newspersons here today, state Finance Minister Badal Choudhury said besides promoting huge business for oil importing companies in India, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had urged the state governments to reduce VAT to four per cent from the present 21 per cent.

''The Centre is asking the states to increase internal income repeatedly and now they are advising us to cut down VAT - the major revenue source for the states - but we cannot reduce it,'' Mr Choudhury said and alleged that Mr Patel was himself still on the Board of Directors of an aviation company and was trying to secure their profit.

He lashed out at the Congress-led UPA government for its failure to arrest prices of petrol and diesel despite drastic fall in the prices of commodities in th international market and alleged that the Centre was abetting a group of Indian crude oil dealers, ignoring the interest of common people.

Mr Choudhury underlined that the price of crude oil had reached Rs 41.13 per litre in July while presently it has reduced to Rs 16.54 but the Centre refused to effect reduction of fuel prices. At this stage, the price of petrol and diesel could be reduced by at least Rs 10 per litre, he pointed out.

''Even the US government has imposed windfall tax (tax on unexpected profit) on soaring profits being made by multinational companies dealing in petroleum products but our government is refusing to do so,'' Mr Choudhury said, adding five major oil importing companies - Reliance Industries, Essar Oil India Ltd, Cairn Energy Ltd, Petroleum LNG Ltd and Gujarat Gas Company Ltd - had been providing funds for Congress and that is why the government was supporting their vast profit.

''Despite recession of crude oil prices at USD 64 per barrel in international market the UPA government is yet to take any step to reduce the fuel price in domestic market. Instead, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is advocating that the oil companies would manage their losses in existing rate,'' Mr Choudhury said.

He underlined that the refining cost of per litre of petrol or diesel in India was Rs three only while the companies were making profit of Rs 11 per litre of petrol or diesel and the government had been inactive over the issue.

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