New Delhi (IANS) Congress President Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded that fuel prices should be slashed as crude prices have fallen across the world.
"I see no logic in why the Government would even consider such a price increase at a time when the economic impact of Covid-19 is depriving millions of jobs and livelihood, devastating business big and small, rapidly eroding the income of the middle class, even as farmers are struggling to sow the crop for the Kharif season," wrote Sonia Gandhi.
The letter comes in the wake of fuel prices recorded an eighth consecutive hike on Sunday, taking the total increase since the resumption of the dynamic price revision system to more than Rs 5 per litre.
Sonia wrote in the letter, "I urge you to rollback this increase and pass on the benefit of low oil prices directly to the citizens of this country."
Sonia Gandhi said, she is "deeply distressed" that in these exceedingly difficult times since the beginning of March, the Government has taken the wholly insensitive decision to increase petrol and diesel prices on no less than ten separate occasions.
The Congress President alleged that the Government is seeking to earn an additional revenue of nearly Rs 2,60,000 crore by these ill-advised hikes in excise duty and increase in the petrol and diesel prices.
Sonia in her letter said, "It is a matter of record that despite historically low oil prices over the last six years your government's revenues have been massively enriched by the cumulative increase in excise duty on petrol and diesel on twelve different occasions (by an additional Rs 23.78 per litre on petrol and Rs 28.37 on diesel).
This translates into a 258 per cent increase in excise on petrol and 820 per cent hike in excise duty on diesel yielding in these six years a staggering Rs 18,00,000 crore from excise collection on petrol and diesel alone.
"If ever there was a time to deploy these resources in the service of the people, it is now,"said Sonia.