Bhubaneswar: With diesel becoming costlier than petrol in Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal and the opposition Congress Sunday blamed the "faulty" policy of the central government for the rise in price of diesel. A litre of diesel cost 12 paise more than that of petrol in Bhubaneswar on Sunday with diesel being sold at Rs 80.69 per litre while petrol cost 80.57 per litre.
Utkal Petroleum Dealers Association general secretary Sanjay Lath said that this was the first time that the price of diesel surpassed that of petrol in Odisha. Lath said while other states have different VAT rates for petrol and diesel, Odisha charges a uniform 26 per cent VAT on both.
He claimed that there has been a decline in sale of diesel in Odisha because of the high prices of the fuel. Odisha Finance Minister S B Behera said, "This imbalance is mostly due to faulty policy of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre ... There could be a tactical understanding between the central government and oil marketing companies."
Behera feared that the prices of essential commodities will also go up because of the increase in diesel price. Senior Congress leader Arya Gyanendra said, "There is an inefficient government at the Centre which failed to regulate fuel price, particularly diesel ..."
BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said, "Finance minister (Behera) should be judicious while making a statement on an important issue. Every body in the country knows the reason behind the rise in the prices of fuel. While 13 states have reduced VAT on the fuel, Odisha government is yet take a decision in this regard."
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is from Odisha, Sunday again asked the state government to reduce the rate of VAT to give relief to people. Odisha Byabasai Mahasangha secretary Sudhakar Panda too feared that the price of essential commodities in the state will go up due to high rate of diesel.