The Meghalaya Pradesh Youth Congress (MPYC) on Thursday staged a protest at New Tura against the daily increases in the prices of fuel.
“While India is reeling under an unprecedented crisis due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the unplanned lockdown imposed by the Modi Government, the common man is bearing the brunt of this blunder and is struggling to make ends meet. Instead of helping the people, especially the poor, PM Modi and his government continue to give hardship to the people of India by not only raising fuel rates daily but also refusing to share benefits of lower crude oil prices with people,” president of the MPYC, Richard M Marak said.
Stating that despite the international crude oil prices being at all-time lows, Marak said, “For those who are not aware, petrol has been hiked by Rs. 8.5 per liter in the last 19 days and diesel has been hiked by Rs.10.49 per liter in the last 18 days, all this has been done when crude oil prices are at a historic low.”
He also said that excise duty on petrol was a mere Rs. 9.20 per liter and on diesel, it was Rs. 3.46 per liter in May 2014 when the Modi government assumed office but subsequently, they have hiked the same by 258 percent and 820 percent respectively. “The current excise duty stands at Rs. 23.78 per liter on petrol and Rs. 28.37 on diesel,” he added.
He said in 2008, when the crude oil prices shot up internationally the Congress-led UPA government of that time kept them stable in the interest of the people.
“Time and again, the Congress party has demanded that the Government should pass on the benefits of reduced international crude oil prices to the people by reducing the rates of petrol, diesel and LPG. On that note, petrol and diesel as commodities should be under GST to bring relief to the common man but this anti-people Modi Government is not paying heed,” he said.
He also said that in the last six years, the Central Government earned Rs. 18, 00,000 crores from hikes on excise duty on fuel but till date there has been no transparency as to what happened to all this money.
“It is not only the Central government, but also the State government that should be giving relief to the people. We can see that instead of helping the people, the State government decided to let the people take care of themselves,” Marak said.
He also opined that there was absolute chaos in handling the Covid-19 situation during the lockdown imposed in Meghalaya.
“No planning in quarantining the returnees from other States, thereby risking the State's population, no transparency in the testing and results is creating confusion and the highly publicized funds to be credited for citizens of the State living in other parts of the country was nothing but a publicity stunt,” Marak said.
He also said that, one highlight of the mismanagement was the deferring of the salaries of government employees and asking for donations and at the same time raising the duties on alcohol and fuel.
“The state government must also answer as to why the excise duties in Meghalaya are higher at Rs. 33.14 per liter for petrol and Rs. 32.42 per liter for diesel,” he said.
He said that it is due to such high taxes that the prices of essential commodities, public transportation fares, etc are rising higher.
“With backbreaking taxes and high prices of essentials, how will there be any money left in the hands of the people? If there is no money in the hands of the people, how can the economy be kick-started? If the government says more taxes, then good luck on your Resurgent Meghalaya,” he said.
Marak also said that those who say that the protest is a political stunt need to remember that when Gabriel Wahlang was the president of MPYC in 2013, the then Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma was approached regarding the State taxes in the interest of the people after which the taxes were lowered.