The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Prime Minister’s Refusal to Bring Down Prices of Petrol & Diesel
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly disapproves the refusal by the Prime Minister to reduce the price of petroleum products which are affecting the daily lives of the “aam admi”.
The Prime Minister’s categorical refusal on his way back from Qatar only underlines his insensitivity and at the same time distorts the facts pertaining to the pricing of the petroleum products. He has made out that the oil marketing companies are making losses due to the under pricing of the products. But the fact of the matter is that retail prices of petroleum products in India are higher than in many other countries because of the high taxes charged by the government on them.
The government had decided to increase the administered price of petrol and diesel when the international crude oil prices were reaching astronomical levels of $ 147 per barrel in July 2007. But now when the international prices have come down to $60 a barrel, the Prime Minister refuses to bring down the retail price on the specious plea that “the Indian oil companies have to bear a very heavy burden”. In contrast the Government has bailed out the private airlines by reducing the price of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF).
The government has reduced the price of ATF in four phases during the last three months i.e. from Rs. 71,028 per kilo litre in August 2008 to Rs 44,968 per kilo litre as of now which amounts to Rs. 26 per litre approximately. ATF has also been exempted from import duty of 5 per cent. As a matter of fact the excise duty levied by government on ATF is Rs. 1.80 per litre whereas the same on diesel is Rs. 3.60 per litre and on petrol it is Rs. 13.35 per litre. Did the consideration that oil marketing companies are losing out prompt such a largesse to the private airline companies?
While the Prime Minister has defended the bail out package to the private airline companies on the ground that they provide employment he appears to be blissfully oblivious of the cascading effect of the petrol and diesel prices on essential commodities particularly foodgrains.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) demands that the government immediately bring down the administered price of all petroleum products which will go a long way in bringing down the runaway prices of essential commodities and ensure relief to the harassed “aam admi”.