Surging fuel prices deepen crisis for traders, farmers - ECAS Punjab

Surging fuel prices deepen crisis for traders, farmers

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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17

The continuous hike in petrol and diesel prices for the past 11 days has affected the common man, traders, industrialists and farmers alike.

The petrol and diesel prices today increased by 55 paise per litre and 60 paisa per litre, respectively. With this, the price of petrol in Punjab has gone up from Rs 72.78-Rs 72.29 a litre on June 7 to Rs 77.58-Rs 79.33 a litre today. The price of diesel has increased from Rs 64.39 a litre on June 7 to Rs 69.13-Rs 70.38 a litre. Now, Punjab is among the states with the highest rates of the two products.

Talking to The Tribune, Ashish Gupta, a resident of Ludhiana, said the common man had been hit by the continuous rise in fuel prices. "On the one hand, people have less cash because of the economic crisis, and on the other, the government is increasing fuel prices. This speaks volumes about the insensitivity of the policymakers towards the economic hardships being faced by the middle class," he rued.

It is not just the Centre that is increasing the rate of fuel, but also the state government, which has increased the value added tax (VAT) on the two products since yesterday. The VAT increase yesterday led to a price rise of Re 1-Rs 1.20 per litre in petrol and Rs 0.53 per litre in diesel. In May also, the Punjab Government had increased VAT on these products. Kultar Singh, a trader in Rajpura, said the hike in fuel prices was making people limit the use of vehicles in order to save money. "My work remained suspended for two months because of the lockdown. It will take me at least two to three years to get back to my previous financial condition. I have stopped using a car and switched to a two-wheeler," he lamented.

The high fuel prices have affected the transport sector also. Charan Singh Lohara, chairman of the All India Motor Transport Congress, said earlier it was the lockdown that affected the industrial activity and rendered transporters jobless. "Now, it is the hike in fuel prices which is bothering us," he said.



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