Congress MP from Bhongir Komatireddy Venkat Reddy has alleged that the Centre has fleeced ₹18 lakh crore from people during the last six years by increasing prices of petrol and diesel with heavy excise duty. The increase in fuel prices for the last 20 days has burdened further the lives of the poor and middle classes that have been already battered by the COVID-19 impact.
In a letter addressed to President Ramnath Kovind against the Central government’s decision to increase fuel prices every day for the last three weeks, Mr. Venkat Reddy urged the former to suggest the Centre to provide relief to people by stopping the fuel price hike and in fact by reducing them in tune with the international oil prices. He pointed out that the poor, middle class, farmers and petty vendors, small traders and employees were suffering badly with the COVID-19 impact on their incomes and instead of providing relief to people, the government was making the lives of such sections more burdensome.
Amid the impact of the pandemic on the earnings of the poor, the BJP-led government at the Centre was breaking their back with the huge increase in the fuel prices over the last 20 days. He mentioned that the prices of petrol and diesel were at ₹71.40 and ₹59.59 per litre, respectively, during the Congress rule in 2014 when the crude oil prices were at $108 per barrel. In 2020, the crude prices were down by 60% compared to 2014 to $43.41 per barrel but thanks to heavy levy of taxes by the Narendra Modi government the price of petrol was ₹82.96 per litre instead of ₹20.68 per litre.
The Congress MP pointed out that the Centre was increasing the fuel prices against the crude prices by hiking excise duty heavily every time the crude prices come down.
Meanwhile, the Congress ranks staged protests across Telangana on Monday to protest the abnormal increase in the fuel prices over the last three weeks. The party leaders submitted memorandum addressed to the President of India to the respective District Collectors. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and Nalgonda MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy participated in the protest and submitted a memorandum to the District Collector at Suryapet.
In Warangal, several Congress workers were injured when a pair of bullocks brought by them as part of their protest to pull a cart panicked and ran helter skelter after looking at the gathering. The police rushed the injured to the hospital for first-aid and treatment.