Ranchi : Petrol pump owners in Jharkhand went on an indefinite strike Friday to protest the hike in the rate of sales tax on diesel.
The state government increased the sales tax on diesel from 15 per cent to 20 per cent from April 2006 when it implemented Value Added Tax (VAT). The increase in sales tax caused a decline in the sale of diesel in the state.
The petrol pump owners had already served an ultimatum to the state government to resolve the issue or face a strike. Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi has called the president of the Jharkhand Petroleum Dealers Association for a meeting Friday afternoon.
"Our strike will continue till the state government resolves the issue and agrees to reduce the tax. The high tax rate has caused drastic decline in the sales of the diesel in the state," said Ashok Singh, president of Jharkhand Petroleum Dealers Association (JPDA)
"The bus and truck owners prefer to fill diesel from neighbouring states instead of Jharkhand due to high tax rates," he added.
Petroleum dealers said the total sale of diesel in 2005-2006 was 7,61,162 kiloliters which declined to 6,57,023 kiloliters in 2006-2007.
"In other states the sales tax on diesel in less than Jharkhand. In West Bengal the tax is 17 per cent. We demand reduction of tax from 20 per cent to 12 per cent so that we can ensure our stay in the market," said Singh.
While protesting against the diesel tax rates, the dealers have decided against accepting any fresh deliveries from India's state owned oil-refining companies to put pressure on the state government for negotiation.