KOLKATA: Claiming that West Bengal is staring at a total revenue loss of Rs 1,141 crore due to reduction of duties on petrol and diesel, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday attacked the Centre for allegedly favouring BJP-ruled states in giving them their dues.
Banerjee's assertion came two days after the central government reduced excise duty on petrol by Rs 8 per litre and on diesel by Rs 6 a litre, slashing prices of both to some extent.
When central duties are cut, states also lose earnings.
"There is an automatic state tax deduction of Rs 1.80 on petrol and Rs 1.03 on diesel (in West Bengal). We have been providing a rebate of Re 1 per litre for both. Thus, the total rebate becomes Rs 2.80 on petrol and Rs 2.03 on diesel," she told reporters.
The West Bengal government levies 17 per cent VAT on diesel and 25 per cent on petrol.
"After spending around Rs 500 crore because of the Re 1 rebate, we are going to face a total revenue loss of Rs 1,141 crore," she said and wondered why the Centre did not reduce cess on fuel.
States do not get any share of cess.
"The concession provided by the Centre to BJP-ruled states is not given to states governed by opposition parties. We are not getting our dues. The Centre is depriving us of what we are supposed to get," Banerjee said.
The CM said that the Narendra Modi-led central government has earned Rs 18,23,324 crore from excise duty on petroleum products from 2014-15 till December 21, 2021, by "looting the common man".
Giving a year-to-year figure for price hike of petrol and diesel, Banerjee claimed that soon after the Modi government assumed office, oil prices were reduced globally but they were increased in India.
Meanwhile, petrol pump owners of the state said they will not purchase fuel on Wednesday as a means of protest as they are losing earnings following the duty cut in the absence of any price protection mechanism for dealers.
"We welcome the step and think the government should cut taxes further for the sake of the common man. However, retail pumps will be losing between Rs 4 and 22 lakh due to the price slash as there is no price protection mechanism for us," West Bengal Petrol Pumps Dealers Association joint secretary Prasenjit Sen told PTI.
In Kolkata, the price of petrol dropped by Rs 9.09 to Rs 106.03 per litre and that of diesel by Rs 7.07 to Rs 92.96 a litre on Monday.
"Prices are raised by a few paise but the reduction is sharp. This pushes us into hefty losses on our existing stock," Sen said.
On Tuesday, the dealers will hold a token protest of switching off lights in 3000 odd petrol pumps across the state between Rs 7 pm and 8 pm and carry out a policy of no-purchase for a day.
Sen said the dealers will be forced to intensify the protest if oil companies do not look into their grievances.
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