Fuel Price Hike: BJD’s Peaceful ‘Jan Jagaran’ Protest Begins At Petrol Pumps Across Odisha

**Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: ** As announced earlier by BJD general secretary Sanjay Dasburma that their party activists, especially the party’s Youth and Student wings, will demonstrate in front of all petrol pumps from 9 am to 12 noon across Odisha today to make people aware of the anti-people steps of the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre, the BJD brigade distributed leaflets questioning the rationale behind such hikes.

Members of Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD) and Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD) were seen distributing leaflets at various petrol pumps across Odisha peacefully protesting the record hike in the prices of petrol and diesel by displaying banners and placards.

In its leaflets, BJD alleges that prices of petrol and diesel per litre have been the highest in comparison to 2013. BJD also alleges that the common interest of the general public has been hit hard by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre in a bid to allegedly promote the profit-making and money-minting mentality of the oil companies.

The ruling party was seen having taken utmost care to ensure that no customer faces any problem during the demonstration at the petrol pumps.

In his media reactions, Dharmesh Nayak, Acting President, BJD, Cuttack City said, “As per the decision of the State BJD Youth and Student wings, we are staging dharna today before seven petrol pumps in the Barabati-Cuttack assembly constituency. Modi Sarkar had given a hollow promise of ‘Achche Din Ayega’. Where is it? Due to zooming price hike of fuel, prices of other essential commofities are also increasing like anything and the people are in the lurch. Today’s protest by our party is an awareness programme. We’re holding it in a peaceful manner. We’re not forcing to close any petrol pumps nor obstructing people to avail petrol and diesel. We’ll intensify our peaceful protest and exert pressure on the Central Government to slash petrol and diesl prices and also not to hike it henceforth.”

“I would like to exhort Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to first set right his own ministry and then opt for mending Odisha’s ways of life,” the Cuttack BJD leader quipped.

BJD general secretary Sanjay Dasburma at an earlier press meet had alleged that the BJP-led Government at the Centre is exploiting the common people by increasing the excise duty on petrol and diesel.

Dasburma had also said that excise duty on petrol which was Rs 9.2 per litre on July 10, 2014 has increased by 200 percent and reached Rs 19.48 per litre as on February 2. Similarly, excise duty on diesel has increased from Rs 3.46 per litre to Rs 15.33 per litre during the same period.

On the contrary, Odisha BJP general secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra argued, “Out of the Rs 72.66 per litre petrol, the State Government here gets Rs 29. 28, out of diesel’s per litre Rs 69.40, the State Government gets Rs 25.64 while the Centre gets Rs 4.52 from per litre petrol and from diesel Rs 3.56. Last year on October 7, Central Government slashed Central Excise duty by Rs 2 when Odisha Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera had said that it also caused Rs 1.36 loss to the State Government here.”

“The State Government on one hand says that it is suffering loss when the Centre slashes tax, while on the other hand the ruling BJD is resorting to agitation demanding slashing of tax on petrol and diesel by the Centre. If the BJD Government here is so much concerned about the people, Odisha should take initiative at the next GST Council demanding enlisting petrol and diesel under GST to lessen their prices. Simultaneously, Odisha Government should also take a cue from other States and reduce VAT levied on petrol and diesel,” the BJP leader demanded.

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