The Centre and the State should roll back the exorbitant and unjustified tax structure that causes over 60% of the retail price of fuel being levied as taxes, P.T. Thomas, MLA and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee working president, has said.
Inaugurating an indefinite strike by office-bearers of Travel Operators Association of Kerala (TOAK) in front of the BPCL terminal at Irumpanam near here on Friday, he expressed shock at fuel price being increased 48 times after the NDA government assumed power at the Centre in 2019. “This has resulted in Central taxes accounting for 40% of its retail price and the State getting the balance 20% of the tax. The State alone gets ₹12,000 crore every year from this. This prohibitive retail pricing can be avoided if fuel is brought under the GST regime, where tax is curtailed to 27% of the retail price,” Mr. Thomas observed.
He termed as baseless the propaganda that fuel price was sky-rocketing because then UPA-1 government vested fuel companies with the power to determine retail fuel price in keeping with international prices. “The UPA’s aim was to avoid massive subsidy from government coffers. Even then, petrol cost ₹50 a litre although crude oil was selling at $145 (per barrel) in the international market. Now, petrol price has almost doubled and is hovering around ₹100, despite crude oil price halving to $77. This is nothing but robbery,” Mr. Thomas said.
CITU State secretary K.N. Gopinath, block panchayat president Raju P. Nair, and Contract Carriage Operators’ Association president Binu John spoke. TOAK State president M.S. Anil Kumar who is leading the agitation warned of stepping up protests if the government failed to roll back fuel price.