Left parties have called the slash in the Central excise duty on fuel, announced on Diwali eve, as too little, too late and that it was the adverse bypoll results that forced the Government’s hand.
The Central excise duty on petrol was cut by ₹5 a litre and ₹10 a litre on diesel. Many BJP-ruled States followed the announcement with a cut in the State excise duty. Even then, the petrol price is above ₹100 in major cities.
CPI general secretary D. Raja said the decrease was nominal, especially since it came amid almost a daily hike in prices. “People have been going through hardships because of the cascading effect on the prices of essential commodities because of the exorbitant fuel prices,” he noted. It was not a coincidence that the cut in Central excise duty came after the bypoll results. “If the poll results were favourable for the BJP, would they have really cut the excise duty,” he asked.
CPI(M) Polit Bureau, in a statement, expressed a similar view. It said the cut would not provide the necessary and long-awaited relief. Central excise alone amounted to ₹33 a litre of petrol and ₹32 a litre of diesel. The party demanded more cuts in the Central excise duty and the special cess imposed on fuel done away with. “It is only a knee-jerk reaction to the adverse bypoll results in some States for the BJP,” it added.