• Chandigarh robbing its states of fuel revenue: Petroleum dealers

    The administration of the capital of Punjab and Haryana is responsible for revenue losses to the two states from the sale of fuel — a charge levelled by the Mohali and Panchkula petrol dealers’ associations battling losses owing to difference in the rates in the Tricity.

    The Chandigarh administration has continuously slashed VAT (value added tax) rates since October 2017, leading to a total shift of petroleum trade from the bordering districts of Punjab to Chandigarh, according to the Petrol Pump Dealers Association, Mohali.

    The Punjab government had reduced VAT on petrol by Rs 5 and diesel by Rs 1 per litre on February 18, but petrol in Mohali is still expensive by Rs 4.54 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.74 per litre as compared to Chandigarh.

    Dealers have suggested an increase in the VAT rates in Chandigarh — being the capital of Punjab— to bring them at par with the state, or a dual pricing within Punjab, with VAT rates in neighbouring districts, like Mohali and Rupnagar, being at par with Chandigarh.

    “In both cases, there will be revenue growth for the Punjab government and the beleaguered petroleum trade will be revived. It will also go a long way in curbing illegal activities like smuggling, pilfering and selling fuel at lesser rates,” said Ashwinder Mongia, president, Mohali Petrol Dealers Association. He claimed a drop of almost 70% in sales at petrol pumps in Mohali since October 2018.

    Chandigarh dealers have gained 45% from the sale of diesel during this year and 17% from petrol as compared to their counterparts in Mohali and Panchkula, the associations have claimed. Dealers in Mohali alleged they have lost 28% in diesel sale, while there has been no change in the sale of petrol.

    Petroleum trade in Punjab, more so in the areas adjoining other states, has witnessed a downfall from five years. Mohali and Rupnagar are the worst-affected districts. A huge discrepancy in rates between Mohali and Chandigarh and Rupnagar and Himachal exist.

    “The rate difference has prompted Chandigarh dealers to resort to unscrupulous means of sales and they are indulging in rampant smuggling of petroleum products from Chandigarh to neighbouring districts of Punjab,” Mongia said.

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