Diesel Costlier Than Petrol: Pradhan throws ball back into Odisha Govt Court

Bhubaneswar: A day after Odisha government blamed the wrong policies of the Centre for the rise in prices of diesel, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today came down heavily on the State government for not reducing VAT on petrol and diesel while stating it as the sole reason for the rise in diesel price.

State Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera, on Monday, stated that the base price of diesel is nearly Rs 5.13 higher than petrol. He said the base price of petrol was Rs 48.89 and diesel Rs 44.72 in 2014, while in 2018 the base price of petrol stands at Rs 43.08 against Rs 48.21 for diesel.

However, in response to Behera’s allegations, Pradhan today said that the fluctuation in fuel prices is only because the State is not reducing VAT on the fuels.

“If the State government reduces VAT on fuel, especially on diesel, then prices here will automatically come down. My friend Odisha Minister Sashi Behera is presenting wrong facts on the base price being increased in Odisha. Odisha is not the only State where the base price has been increased. The base price in many States including Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand was increased and it is being set according to the product rate at the international market. But in these States, the diesel rates did not cross petrol price.”

So far, around 20 States have reduced VAT, however, Odisha government is yet to take measures on reducing VAT. But, it’s only up to the State to decide the amount of VAT.

Pradhan also mentioned that Odisha goverment used to receive Rs 3,000 crore as tax but with an increase in tax, it is now getting Rs 7,000 crore.

“I don’t have any problem whatsoever if the State Government criticises me, but they should at least not run away from their responsibilities,” Pradhan said.

As per reports, VAT on petrol is higher than diesel in other States. But here in Odisha, VAT on both petrol and diesel is fixed at 26 per cent.