Mamata Banerjee takes up ‘cruel’ hikes in fuel prices with Centre, shoots off letter to PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday (July 5) shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking reduction in taxes imposed by the Centre on fuel, thereby causing “cruel” hikes in the prices of petrol and diesel.

She wrote that the unprecedented fuel prices have resulted in inflation in other household items and have affected the common people adversely.

“Shockingly, the retail price of petrol in many states across the country has crossed an unprecedented Rs. 100 per litre,” Banerjee wrote in a letter.

“I have come to learn that petrol and diesel prices were hiked by your government 8 times since the 4th of May, 2021 and out of these, prices were hiked 6 times in the month of June, 2021 only and shockingly, 4 times in one week. These rather cruel hikes in petrol and diesel prices have affected the common people most adversely and have directly impacted the dangerously rising inflation in the country,” she wrote to Modi.

“Consumer Price Index rose by 6.30% where the prices of edible oils used by common people every day, rose by 30.8%, eggs by 15.2%, fruits by 12% and health-related items, in the middle of the pandemic, by as much as 8.44%. Much of this inflation was triggered by the petrol and diesel price hikes,” she added.

She said that such major inflation in prices “reduces the real income of the common people”.

She further noted, “In the midst of this COVID pandemic, the Government of India has collected revenue of staggering Rs 3.71 lakh crore (Rs 3,71.725 crore) from oil and petroleum products in the financial year 2020-21. In fact, over the last six years of your Government, the Government of India’s tax collection from oil and petroleum products has jumped by a staggering 370% since 2014-15, due to constant hikes in Central Excise Duty on oil and petroleum products including cesses and surcharges, at the cost of the common people.”

Banerjee said that her government has “voluntarily given a rebate to both petrol and diesel as a token of our empathy for the common people.”

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