State Times News JAMMU: Congress on Thursday continued protest against price hike of petrol and diesel by holding series of protests for the fourth consecutive day in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir. A protest was organized on Thursday by Block President Satwari 14, Amrit Bali and Block President Gangyal 13, Satish Sharma at Karan Bagh, Chatha Morh, here. The protest was joined by senior leaders led by Raman Bhalla former Minister, Distt President Yogesh Sawhney, JKPCC Chief Spokesman Ravinder Sharma, JKPCC General Secretary Manmohan Singh and others. They submitted a memorandum to Additional Development Commissioner demanding rollback of hiked prices of fuels. Speaking on the occasion, Bhalla said that during the Manmohan Singh government the per barrel price of crude oil had peaked at 143 dollar and then stabilised at 120 dollar and per litre petrol prices were Rs 73, and the BJP had launched an agitation at the time. He said, “Today the petrol rate is Rs 83 per litre. Considering the reduction in crude oil prices, petrol prices can be reduced by at least Rs 10. But the BJP government doesn’t possess the mentality to help people,”. He demanded Modi government to bring down the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG to the pre-2004 levels as global crude oil prices have fallen drastically. He demanded that petrol and diesel should be brought under the GST. He said the Modi-Shah government must pass on the relief of record low crude oil price to the people of India against rising inflation & slowdown in the economy and rising unemployment by lowering the rates of petrol, diesel and LPG in consonance with the huge fall in international crude oil prices. Sawhney said global prices of crude oil have been going up pushing domestic fuel prices far higher but during the lenient phase of global crude oil prices, the Modi government kept increasing excise duty to maintain the existing petrol and diesel prices. He said when crude prices are low, the cess should be used to create a fund that can be used to stabilise prices later when crude prices go up. The government failed, and instead kept increasing prices even when crude prices were low, and did not transfer the benefit to consumers, he said. “In our country, there is a history of governments falling due to price rise. The people of the country have the real power. Whenever there is rise in petrol or diesel prices, the party in power has to suffer as this affects traders, youths, farmers and the poor,” he said. JKPCC Chief Spokesman Ravinder Sharma said the central excise duty has been hiked more than a dozen times since the BJP came to power. He said “monstrous” taxes levied by the Modi government have resulted in the skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices, which is a major cause of rising transportation costs and resultant inflation. “The excise structure of the government is so skewed that it has led to petrol and diesel, which are used for scooter/motorcycle/car/tractor/truck becoming far more costlier than the aviation fuel. Can this government call itself a government for the people?” he asked.
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