SHILLONG, Oct 22: Taxation Minister, James PK Sangma said the government will examine if the prices of fuel could be slashed.
“We have discussed the matter. We are sympathetic to the plight of the public. We will examine if we can reduce the taxes to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel,” Sangma told reporters on Friday.
The government had in February reduced the tax on fuel by Rs 2 per litre.
Sangma said multiple factors are contributing to the rise in fuel prices which impacted the lives of people. He said some factors could be tackled but there are some others which the state government has no control over.
“Therefore, the fuel prices are rising. We all have to bear with it,” Sangma said.
He said the Value Added Tax (VAT) collected from fuel keeps fluctuating.
“I do not have the exact figure since it keeps on changing every month,” he said responding to a query.
The minister said the One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme, announced earlier, was meant not just for the petrol pump owners but for all those business houses and individuals who had difficulties paying back outstanding dues that need to be paid to the government.
“The OTS scheme was introduced to provide relief to individuals and business houses. But the response was not up to our expectations. It is just the beginning and we are happy for those who availed it,” Sangma said.
On the report that the government is likely to lose around Rs 195 crore as a result of the introduction of OTS scheme, he said there is no question of losing. He pointed out that these are dues, pending for the past 15-18 years.
Stating that instead of prolonging these dues, he said the government decided to give an opportunity to avail the OTS scheme so that there is a cushion by way of waiving off 30% of the interest amount or delay payment charges. “We are taking only the principal amount. This is only the cushion which we wanted to provide and there is no question of incurring any losses,” Sangma said.
Fuel price cheapest in Meghalaya: Tynsong
Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong has stated that the rate of petrol and diesel in Meghalaya is the cheapest in the entire country.
Addressing an election rally at Tynring village on Friday in support of Pyniaid Sing Syiem, the NPP candidate from Mawryngkneng, Tynsong said that the taxes collected on petrol and diesel in Assam is higher as compared to Meghalaya.
According to him, tax collected by Assam per litre of petrol is 32.66% and diesel is 23.66% while the Meghalaya government is collecting only 20% tax per litre of petrol and 12% for diesel.
The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) on Friday staged a black flag protest against the continuous increase in fuel prices.
The protestors held banners and placards that read, “Why should the poor pay heavy tax to make the rich richer. The people in India are poor because the government has over-taxed the citizens.”
They distributed black flags to vehicles passing by asking the occupants to hang these as a mark of protest. The protestors shouted slogans condemning the state government and the Centre for the hike in fuel prices.