VIJAYAWADA: Fuel sales in the border areas of Andhra Pradesh are on a sharp decline as the State government has not revised the VAT and other taxes on the fuel being sold in the state even as the Centre has reduced the fuel price before Diwali.
In Kurnool, Nellore, Chittoor, Krishna and Srikakulam districts, fuel stations near the border areas are witnessing a sale drop of 30-35 per cent on an average as vehicle users, especially those operating long distance trucks, taxis and private travels, are preferring to tank up in neighbouring States as the prices of fuel are far cheaper than that in Andhra Pradesh.
AP Lorry Owners Association general secretary YV Eswara Rao said truckers were facing losses due to two reasons: the State government’s refusal to cut down the taxes on fuel (diesel and petrol) and low freight due to decreased industrial production. “The demand from industries to lift the raw material required for production from various places and finished products from industries to respective destinations has decreased,” he said.
Eswara Rao said the Centre, in view of decrease in crude oil price, has decreased the price of petrol and diesel, but the State government has not decreased the VAT and additional VAT and road cess. At present 22.25 percent of VAT, Rs 4 additional VAT and Rs 1.22 of road cess is being collected on a liter of petrol and 31 per cent VAT, Rs 4 additional VAT and Rs 1.33 of road cess are being collected on a litre of diesel.
“This has made the fuel costlier than the neighbouring states —Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana. In Tamil Nadu, diesel is available at Rs 5 cheaper and in Karnataka Rs 9 to Rs 10 less than in our state. Similarly, it is Rs 2 less in Telangana and Rs 3 to Rs 4 less in Odisha,” he explained.
Several truckers and cab drivers prefer to fill their tanks in the neighbouring states. “Why should I fill my 450 liter tank in the State at a premium cost, when I could get the same for less amount a few kilometers away, in the neighbouring State ?” questioned Rasool Saheb, a trucker on his way to Bellary in Kurnool district.
The preference of truckers and cab drivers and even the people in the villages abutting the inter-state borders have resulted in the loss of business to fuel stations in those places. A dealer, who has four fuel stations in Kurnool, said those coming from Hyderabad prefer to get tanked up in Gadwal Jogulamba district and not in Kurnool. “I used to sell 1,000 to 1,500 liters of diesel every day and today sales have dropped by 60-70 per cent,” he rued.
In Chippagiri and Hollagunda villages, which border Karnataka, local people cross the border to get the fuel instead of purchasing in their own place, as it costs them less. “Less sales of fuel means less revenue for the government. If it reduces VAT, sales will increase, so will the revenue,” he argued.