June 14, 2020

Rollback Fuel Price Hike: AIRTWF

THE All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation (AIRTWF) condemned the union government’s decision to hike the prices of petrol and diesel. “This is for the third time the union government has hiked the prices of petroleum since March. On May 5, the government enhanced the Excise Duty at Rs 10 per litre on petrol and Rs 13 per litre on diesel. Now, again the enhancement is almost Rs 1 per litre. This is nothing but looting the people,” the AIRTWF said in a statement released on June 9 and demanded the government to rollback the hike forthwith. It also appealed to all the affiliated unions, all the stakeholders and the people at large to observe protest against the hike in the prices of petroleum products.

“At a time when people are struggling for their survival during the lockdown, the government is levying a burden on them. As the entire world is seriously affected by the Covid-19, almost all the governments in the world are extending financial support to the people in a big way, whereas the union government of India is burdening the people heavily. This shows the cruelty of the government,” the AIRTWF said in its statement.

The transport federation said that while the prices of crude oil in the international market have been slashed drastically, the union government instead of reducing the prices proportionately, has been enhancing the duties and filling the treasury of the government at the cost of the people. It warned that the increase of petrol and diesel prices will have a cascading effect on the prices of all the items as the transport charges goes up. “This will add fuel to the sufferings of the people”, the federation said.
“Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic also, the transport industry in the country, particularly the goods transport, was in serious crisis. The long period of lockdown further ruined the industry. Majority of the commercial vehicles such as auto rickshaw, taxi, truck, private bus etc are owned by petty owners and they have to be exempted from all the taxes and permit fees, toll charges etc. But nothing is done by the government to rescue the petty owners. In contrast, it is burdening them heavily,” the AIRTWF said in its statement.

The federation said that even though the transport services are allowed to operate from June 1, in many states, the operation of private buses are nominal because of the low occupancy and earnings due to physical distancing and other protocols. At this juncture, the hike in the prices of diesel and petrol will hamper the transport industry very badly. The AIRTWF demanded the union government to rollback the hike and reduce the prices of petrol and diesel in proportion to the international market prices.