JAMMU, July 04: Congress on Saturday continued protest against hike in fuel prices for sixth consecutive day in Jammu at Guru Nanak Nagar today. Leaders carrying placards raised slogans against BJP Govt for making life of all sections of society miserable.
Today’s protest was organized by Mandeep Singh Block 10 Nanak Nagar and Arvind Sharma Block 9, Gandhi Nagar and led by GA Mir Chief JKPCC, Former Minister Raman Bhalla, Distt President urban Yogesh Sawhney, Raman kant Khajuria, Vijay Singh Chib, Aman Bawa, Gajan Singh, Paramjeet Singh, Jatin Vashisht, Shobat Ali, Bhanu Mahajan, Dewarka Choudhary, Kamal singh, Rajinder Singh Randhawa, Brinder Pratap Singh, Vijay Khajuria, Balwinder Singh Rinku , Raju Katyal, Gurdeep Singh, Kulbushan Sharma, Gurpreet Dogra, Paramjeet Singh, Ashwani Sethi, Arvinder Manhas, Onkar Singh, Jasbir Singh, Sanjay Gupta, Goga, Sunil Magotra, Latish Sharma, Kulbir Slathia, Vijay Choudhary, Sat Sapolia, Vipin Sharma, Vinay Sharma, Amrish Sharma, Ajay Mattoo, Ashish Sehgal, Dilawar Singh Makhan, Javed Khan Goli, Sonu Choudhary, Deepak Sethi, Poopy Chib, Chrandeep Singh, Balbir Singh, Lucky Warne, Raju Saini, Kala Choudhary, Harvinder Singh Sanju, Ravi Kumar, Ravi Singh, Nadeem Choudhary, Ajay Bali, Rakesh Sharma, Vicky Warna, Vinay Dutt, Billu, Vicky, Lucky, Suresh, Bittu, JJ Singh, Sanjay Gupta,Sumit Mangotra.
Speaking on the occasion, JKPCC Chief GA Mir stated that week long protest throughout the country
was as an attempt "to awaken the government to the hardships of the people". The continuously rising price of diesel and petrol, for 22 consecutive days has increased the burden on the local people. BJP Govt on one hand increased the fuel prices and additionally increased transport fair by 30% in Jammu. No money is percolating down to the middle class or poor people. No financial and relief help is being provided to the public. As a result of such policies, the local consumer suffers on a daily basis." Mir said. The high retail price of petrol and diesel continues to impact the common man even though global market has thrown enough cues for a sharp cut in the price of auto fuels. While the Corona virus scare and continued flat demand for oil has pushed down the global crude price that has fallen sharply by over 24 per cent to $53 a barrel over last one month, there has been less than proportional decrease in retail price of petrol and diesel with oil companies building a cushion for possible increase in oil prices later this year.
Mir further said that it is important that prices are reduced because economic activity is at its lowest and people are sitting at home without any work. In such a scenario, the government should not aim to earn profit from people who are already facing the brunt of the economic downturn owing to Covid-19. He demanded rollback of taxes on petrol and diesel to provide relief to common people. Hitting out at the Modi government, JKPCC Chief said, “Today the whole country is passing through a difficult period and the common man is facing hardships due to wrong policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.“By imposing tax on petrol and diesel it has caused lots of hardship to the common people. Crores of in India have lost their jobs and livelihood. Hardship of the common man has only worsened. Instead of giving relief to the common people, the government has increased the prices of petrol and diesel while the crude oil prices in world market are on the lowest side today,” Mir said.
We want the government to provide relief to the common man and poor people,” he said. Mir said the fuel price hikes are saddling them with an additional burden of “enormous magnitude” that is neither justified nor appropriate. He demanded to pass on benefit of low oil prices to the people. “If you wish for them to be ‘self-reliant’, then do not place financial fetters on their ability to move forward. Please use the government’s resources to put money directly into the hands of those who need it in this time of severe hardship,” he said. People of Jammu are already enduring other hardships. The government is only adding on to these problems, instead of resolving them." Mir also commented on the helpless condition of the people of Jammu who are continuously suffering under the burden of price rises, toll plazas and lack of any financial help.
Terming the Modi Government “insensitive” towards the plight of the people as the hike in the oil prices were pushing up the prices of all essential items steeply, including fruits and vegetables, he said that people should be given the benefit of cheap crude oil price in the international market by lowering the prices in the domestic market as well.“ He said that the people of J&K facing lot of hardships to come out of lockdown mode and many people have lost their jobs with no other source of livelihood. “Under such a situation, instead of giving relief to the people, BJP govt making the lives of the people harder,” he said.Every section of society has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic, while the Centre is raising the prices of essential commodities instead of providing them with relief. The poor, workers, shopkeepers, middle-class families, farmers, small and medium businessmen and a large number of unemployed people are struggling for their livelihood in times of economic recession, but the government is simply not bothered,” Mir said. He said when the BJP came to power in May 2014, excise duty on petrol was only Rs 9.20 per litre and on diesel Rs 3.46 per litre. In the course of six years, the BJP increased excise duty to Rs 23.78 per litre on petrol and Rs 28.37 per litre on diesel.He said the increase in oil prices was against the interests of the common man in general and farmers in particular during the peak season of paddy plantation.
Mir said during Manmohan Singh government the per barrel price of crude oil had peaked at 143 dollar and then stabilised at 120 dollar and per litre petrol prices were Rs 73, and the BJP had launched an agitation at the time, he said."Today the petrol rate is Rs 83 per litre. Considering the reduction in crude oil prices, petrol prices can be reduced by at least Rs 10. But the BJP government doesn't possess the mentality to help people," he said.On the contrary Modi government has raised excise on petrol and diesel several times, he said. He demanded Modi government to bring down the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG to the pre-2004 levels as global crude oil prices have fallen drastically.He demanded that petrol and diesel should be brought under the GST. The hike in excise duty/customs duty effected by Modi government since May 2014 on petroleum products should be withdrawn immediately until it is brought under the GST regime," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Bhalla said that "unprecedented" hike in petrol and diesel prices has hammered the people at the time of economic hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said due to the coronavirus crisis, demand for fuel has fallen all over the world. Despite having a full stock of fuel, the government has burdened the common people by increasing fuel prices." Such a steep hike has not been effected in 70 years, he said, adding that it is "unprecedented". "The poor and the middle class have been severely hit by the recent hikes. Such a situation has not been seen in any other country. All the countries are helping its people during the coronavirus crisis. "The Centre has hammered the people when the country is facing an economic slowdown. No government has hit its people so hard before." He said petrol and diesel prices directly affect the common people but the Centre has not formulated any policy to deal with the economic slowdown and they passed on the burden to the masses. "No government can ignore people's voice. Hike in petrol and diesel prices will have to be reversed," he demanded.
Former Minister Bhalla accused the BJP of going back on its promise to reduce petrol and diesel prices. This vow was taken by Saffron partymen during election campaigning. “The common man is suffering owing to inflated prices of fuel and can’t afford to operate their vehicles. The surging fuel prices are also causing hike in other commodities and services which have added to their woes. He highlighted how BJP leaders used to protest against rise in fuel prices under the previous UPA governments at the Centre but were now justifying frequent increases in petrol-diesel rates. He said that with no action plan in place to control fuel rates, the anti-people face of the government has been exposed. “The government has set a new example of extortion from people through this unjustified increase in petrol and diesel prices,” he alleged. “This is not only unjust but also insensitive.” He said that the continuous increase hurts the farmers, the poor, the working class, the middle class and the small businesses.
Congress Jammu District President Yogesh Sawhney speaking on the occasion said that common masses are reeling due to Covid-19 outbreak; the BJP government was turning disaster into opportunity to make quick bucks. He said the Modi-Shah government must pass on the relief of record low crude oil price to the people of India against rising inflation & slowdown in the economy and rising unemployment by lowering the rates of petrol, diesel and LPG in consonance with the huge fall in international crude oil prices. “We don’t want to talk about the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package here but the government should tell us what have they done with Rs18 lakh crore revenue earned by imposing excise duty on fuel in the past six years.”Sawhney alleged that BJP government has "looted" the people by increasing excise duties and huge taxes on petroleum products and did not bring this under GST despite the consistent demand of Congress Party.