BJD protests in Odisha over fuel price hike

Bhubaneswar: Ruling Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) activists and supporters here on Monday protested against the increasing prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.

The protesters took out a march and rallied at the Raj Bhavan to demand immediate reduction in excise duty to stem the rising fuel prices. They also submitted a memorandum to Governor Ganeshi Lal to be forwarded to the President of India.

“Compared with other states, Odisha has imposed lowest value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel. On the other hand, the Centre has imposed 100 per cent excise on fuel. As a result, people are suffering from a burden on their pockets,” said senior BJD leader Sanjay Dasburma.

He said that the Centre, including Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, had grossly failed to control fuel prices.

Dasburma said that his party will stage a dharna in 314 blocks of the state if the Centre did not control the rising fuel prices.

State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the ruling party is “shedding crocodile tears” only.

“The Centre has already asked the state to cooperate and reduce VAT on fuel. While Odisha is earning Rs 7,000 crore as tax, the state is not showing any interest to cut down VAT on fuel. They only want to target Pradhan due to political motives,” said state BJP Spokesperson Golak Mohapatra.