Terming the recent rise in petrol and diesel prices as unfair, TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday asked Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to mount pressure on the central government to roll back the hike in fuel prices.
Naidu said the hike in fuel prices comes at a time when people are already burdened by the corona imposed lockdown and the ongoing battle with the pandemic which has caused severe economic hardship to five crore people of Andhra Pradesh. In the last 15 days, diesel prices were hiked by Rs 8.88 per litre while petrol prices were spiked by Rs 7.97 per litre. To this, the Andhra Pradesh government has raised local sales tax or value-added tax (VAT) on the two fuels. The Andhra Pradesh government had imposed local sales tax or value-added tax (VAT) on diesel prices by Rs 3.07, while the surcharge on petrol prices was hiked by Rs 2.76. At this time, instead of reducing prices, the decision of the Andhra Pradesh government to impose additional surcharge is unfair and should be withdrawn, Naidu noted. Further, he pointed out that the transport sector will have to bear the burden of an additional Rs 3,900 crore.
Farmers will also face the impact of fuel price rise in terms of increased cost of transportation for harvested agricultural produce, for sourcing of inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertilizers. A sharp increase in fuel prices over the past fortnight will push up cultivation costs as sowing activity picks up in the state. Diesel is one of the key inputs for agricultural activities. A sharp hike in diesel prices will increase the cost of cultivation and further squeeze the margins for farmers, Naidu pointed out.
In 2018, when a similar situation prevailed, the TDP government had slashed diesel and petrol prices by Rs 2. “The AP government should take a cue from the policy adopted by the TDP government and slash the fuel prices,’ he suggested.