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Fuel price cut: BJD mum as BJP turns up heat on regional party

ANI | Updated: Oct 05, 2018 22:14 IST

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Oct 5 (ANI): The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party in Odisha headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is in a fix after the Union government on Thursday lowered the fuel price by Rs 2.50 per litre and urged all the state government to further cut it down by Rs 2.50 from their end.
Odisha has imposed 26 percent VAT rate on petrol and diesel prices. The state, which earned Rs 3000 crore from VAT on fuel in 2014, is currently earning nearly Rs 7000 crore per annum from the same source.
Knowing that the regional party was on the back foot following the cut in fuel prices, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday held a massive rally here seeking an immediate cut in state's VAT rate on fuel prices.
Sources in the state bureaucracy said the state government would be hit hard if it lowers the VAT rate on fuels.
An attempt to cut Rs 2.50 per litre to match the Centre's gesture would mean the cash-starved state will face serious challenges to fund its ongoing populist programmes that have proved good vote-earners.
"The BJD leaders and workers were indulging in political stunts only sans genuine concerns for the people. Their prime objective was to defame the Union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who has emerged as a potential leader in the state challenging the non-performances of the BJD government and large-scale corruption patronised by it for the last 18 years. The BJD and its leaders are now thoroughly exposed," said BJP vice-president Samir Mohanty.
So far, the only response on behalf of the state government regarding fuel prices has come from state finance minister Sashibhusban Behera. He said, "Odisha will take appropriate action after examining the Union finance minister's fuel price cut announcement." (ANI)