The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday accused the Punjab Congress of holding sham protests against the Centre for seeking lower taxes on petrol and diesel even as the party government in the state continues to charge more than Rs 20 as taxes on the same.
In a Press statement, SAD leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said state unit president Sunil Jakhar should put pressure on the Congress government to slash value added tax (VAT) on these petroleum products to give an instantaneous relief of Rs 20 per liter to the common man.
“You (Jakhar) want the Centre to reduce excise on petrol and diesel which it is already examining but refuse to put pressure on your own government to reduce state tax on both these products which is the highest in north India and the third highest in the country,” he said.
Majithia said the State government is charging more than Rs 20 tax on petrol and diesel which can be done away with by one stroke of the pen. “It was expected that you would put down your foot and procure this relief for the common man. However instead of walking the talk and giving instant relief you are misleading the people,” he added.
The SAD leader said Jakhar should tell Punjabis why he had “accepted” the contention of Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal that the latter would not reduce VAT on petrol and diesel by even one paisa.
“Jakhar had earlier announced that the Congress government would reduce VAT on petrol and diesel on the pattern of the relief given by Kerala. However after Manpreet refused to reduce petrol and diesel prices he has started indulging in meaningless protests to gain cheap publicity… ” Majithia added.
Speaking about the Congress government’s draconian decision to delay paddy transplantation to June 20 without consulting farmers, the SAD leader said such decisions were symptomatic of Congress rule.
He said the government seemed to be multiplying the problems of farmers who were committing suicide in large numbers after it cheated and betrayed them by refusing to implement the comprehensive Rs 90,000 Crore loan waiver as promised.
He said now another crisis had been triggered by delaying paddy transplantation inordinately as late transplantation will result in increased moisture content and will make Punjab paddy virtually unsellable.
Asking the Congress government to be practical and understand the problems being faced by farmers, Majithia said paddy transplantation had started in large parts of Malwa since June 10 as per the old guideline. He said now the government should ensure uninterrupted eight hour power supply to the farm sector.
“If this is not done, large swathes of paddy which are being sown since the last two days will dry up resulting in a monumental human tragedy in the state,” he added.