New Delhi: Criticising the Centre for hiking excise duty on fuel, Chief Minister Oomen Chandy Tuesday said the government should "fully pass on" to the common man the benefit accrued from low global crude prices.
The senior Congress leader, who is in the national capital for election campaign, said that the previous UPA government was forced to hike fuel prices after international prices had touched record levels.
"Without cutting the price and increasing the excise duty, the government is getting abnormal profit... My demand is that benefit of low international crude oil prices should be passed on to the common man," Chandy told PTI.
The Chief Minister said he would formally ask the Centre to reduce the fuel prices and provide relief to the people.
"With the fall in international prices, the government could have reduced the price much more. Given the record fall in crude oil prices upto USD 45 per barrel, prices of the petrol can be slashed further by Rs 30 and diesel by Rs 22," Chandy said.
Attacking the government, the Chief Minister said now the situation is that Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) is cheaper than petrol and diesel.
"The BJP government has cut the price of petrol by Rs 12 and diesel by Rs 6 only. Given the record fall in crude oil prices upto USD 45 per barrel, prices of the petrol can be slashed further by Rs 30 and diesel by Rs 22.
"But the government is not reducing the price by that much level. Instead of that the government has hiked excise duty four times -- Rs 8.95 for petrol and Rs 7.95 for diesel," Chandy said.
According to him, the hike in excise duty would get the Centre more than Rs 20,000 crore as excess excise duty.
"Besides, there would be further income for the Centre by not cutting the price," he added.
The price of petrol has been cut nine times since August and diesel price on five occasions since October.
However, the government has hiked excise duty four times since November.