KOLLAM: Thomas Issac MLA has said that the Centre should take over the right to fix the prices of petroleum products from oil companies. He was speaking at the seminar titled “Indanavilayude Kanapurangal’ held at Kollam press club on Tuesday.
“The government withdrew from the responsibility due to pressure from private oil companies. The government’s assurance, when it came to power, was that when the crude oil price increases, the price of petroleum products will increase and vice-versa,” he said.
“In 2008, the crude oil price was $147, and now even when the price has come down to $33, the price of the petroleum products has not slumped. The fuel price rise is also due to big hike in tax imposed on it. Through an increase of 50 percent tax, the Central government got One and half crore rupees. The government has been squeezing money out of people who usually adjust with rising petrol prices,” he explained.
Attending the seminar, KPCC General Secretary M Liju said the petrol price was not coming down due to the influence of Corporates. The decision for deregulation of petrol prices was taken during the tenure of Vajpayee. UPA government also had to continue the same policy as the subsidy amount overshoot the limit set in the budget. Even during the UPA government there was interference from the Corporates.
Meanwhile, BJP State spokesperson Advocate R Padmakumar said, during the last 21 months the price of petrol had gone down 20 times. “The Central government has been trying to combine good politics and good social science. The ten percent of the tax levied by the government on petroleum products is being disbursed among states for their development. When BJP came to power it evolved a different policy, which is different from its earlier ones. It takes decisions to suit the times and circumstances. The Central will be giving fund for road development in Kerala that will be one and a half time more than the amount allocated in the Kerala budget. The whole tax amount is being used for the development of the nation,” he said.
Media person Anoop Menon said the government was trying to hide the reality from the people by highlighting the much-touted loss of oil companies in the sale of fuels. “The oil companies have never been at loss any time. In order to regulate the financial deficit of the country, the government is looting people by increasing the Excise duty of the petroleum products,” he added.