SAD MLAs stage walkout from Punjab Vidhan Sabha over fuel taxes

CHANDIGARH: Members of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday staged a walkout from the ongoing budget session in Punjab Vidhan Sabha at the end of zero-hour after raising slogans against the ruling party to reduce the Value-Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel in the state.

Speaking to the media, SAD leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon said that the state government should reduce the 27 per cent tax imposed on petrol and diesel and not pass on the entire blame to the central government.

“We are ready to support them (the Punjab government) in their protest against the central government in Delhi on the hike in prices but before starting the protest in Delhi, we demand that the state government should reduce the tax they have imposed on petrol and diesel. Punjab state government has imposed 27.26 per cent tax on petrol and diesel without any reason and we demand them to reduce it,” Dhillon said.

The rates of petrol and diesel differ from state to state depending on the VAT, a type of indirect tax levied on a product whenever a value is added at each stage of the supply chain, from production to the point of sale.

Dhillon further said that the people of Punjab will act against the state government if the VAT is not reduced.

Sunil Jakhar, another SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia, said that Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sunil Jakhar is trying to fool the common man.

“The government is trying to fool the common man. Sunil Jakhar created a ‘drama’ saying that the Centre has the power to reduce the taxes on petrol and diesel. We agree that the Centre has the power to do so but the state government on its part should also reduce the VAT imposed on the fuel,” Majithia said.

The leaders were seen holding pamphlets with “Punjab need answers” written on them.

Earlier in the day, the Akali MLAs rode to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on bullock carts, demanding a reduction in the tax levied by the state government.

Currently, the petrol price in Chandigarh is at Rs 87.73 per litre and that of diesel is Rs 81.17. (ANI)