Amid rising fuel prices, Odisha, Centre at loggerheads over tax cut

Bhubaneswar: As petrol and diesel prices continue their upward move, Odisha and Centre are at loggerheads over tax cuts to ease the burden of higher prices.

Petrol and diesel prices today touched their record highs after increasing for the eighth consecutive day.

Union Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan said the Centre had slashed excise duty on fuel by Rs 2 in October last year and requested Odisha government to reduce taxes.

“We will urge the State government once again to reduce taxes on fuel,” said Pradhan.

Responding to Pradhan’s comments, Odisha Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera said taxes are already low in the State and the Centre should reduce excise duty to bring fuel prices down.

With the dynamic pricing system, prices of fuel are increasing every morning; and the Union Minister is making several excuses. VAT rate is already at a much lower level than the excise duty. The Central excise duty must be reduced.

– Behera added.

“Prices of fuel are increasing on a daily basis. No one knows the import rate of fuel. It seems the government is trying to fill its coffers with taxes collected on fuel,” said a Bhubaneswar resident, Gokulananda Dash.

The government is citing increase in international fuel prices as the reason, but if the government slashes taxes, consumers can heave a sigh of relief, said another Bhubaneswar resident, Kshetra Mohan Nayak.

Earlier, the Petroleum minister had said that the Narendra Modi-led Central government is aware of rising fuel prices and striving hard to maintain a balance between fiscal and consumer interests.