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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: Congress MLAs today reached Odisha Assembly by riding cycle as a mark of protest against unabated rise in the prices of petrol and diesel in Odisha on Tuesday.

Jeypore MLA Tara Bahinipati and his party colleague Adhiraj Panigrahi - Congress MLA from Khariar - took out the novel protest by riding cycle from Congress Bhawan to the State Assembly.

They alleged that prices of petrol and diesel are rising every other day due to the lackadaisical and anti-people approach of both State and Central government.

Everyday, prices of petrol and diesel continue to witness a hike. It is burning a hole in the pockets of the common man. Both, State and Centre should immediately reduce taxes to give a sigh a relief to the people,” urged Bahinipati.

His party MLA Adhiraj Panigrahi said “Oil price rise has affected all sections of people. I appeal to the members of BJP and BJD including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to use cycle to feel the problem of common man.”

Similarly, Jatni legislator Sura Routray, who also staged a similar protest, said “We registered our indignation in this way to show Naveen and Modi regarding price hike of petrol and diesel, which is pinching the pockets of common man. We demand both Centre and State to slash the fuel price,” he said.

[caption id="attachment_520550" align="aligncenter" width="915"] Jatani MLA Sura Routray protested fuel price hike by riding cycle while coming to State Assembly[/caption]

“Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have reduced the prices. Why shouldn’t Naveen in Odisha? Is he bearing the cost from his own pocket? Routray asked.

He said that people are worried lot on rising price of fuel. “But, it has no impact on Modi as he has well predicted his downfall in next elections,” the veteran Congress MLA said.

Bishnu Charan Sethi, deputy leader of BJP legislature party, said the tax collected on fuel is utilised by the Odisha government for welfare activities in Odisha and across the country.

He demanded that the state government should decrease the tax on fuel.

Participating in the discussion, opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi said like other states, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should set an example by decreasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products.

However, Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari said the government is levying less tax than the Central government and utilising funds for welfare activities.

Pujari said the Centre is collecting Rs 32.90 paise from fuel while the state government is levying Rs 21.40 paise towards 32 per cent VAT on prevailing price retail of petrol in Bhubaneswar.

The prevailing price of petrol in Bhubaneswar stands Rs 91.66 (as on February 23), while the petrol prices in Bhopal, Mumbai and Kolkata are Rs 98.96, Rs 97.34 and Rs 91.12 respectively.

Similarly, the diesel price in Bhubaneswar is Rs 88.63, while the diesel prices in Bhopal, Mumbai and Chennai are Rs 89.60, 88.44 and 86.31 respectively, said the Minister.

He said the Centre should reduce the agriculture infrastructure development cess and infrastructure cess on the petroleum products.

Meanwhile, the price of petrol has crossed Rs 100 in Malkangiri. The premium petrol costs Rs 100.03 in the district.

The petrol and diesel prices were hiked again by 35 and 43 paise. The petrol is being sold at Rs 91.64 while diesel costs Rs 88.66 in the State Capital.

In Cuttack, petrol and diesel prices stand at Rs 91.95 and Rs 88.91 per litre.

Similarly, petrol costs Rs 92.21 per litre in Sambalpur while price of diesel stands at Rs 89.81 per litre.

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