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Indefinite strike over VAT
April, 13th 2010

Petrol pump owners in Delhi called off their day-long strike for Friday but threatened to observe an indefinite shutdown if the state government does not bring down the value added tax (VAT) on diesel in the next 15 days. They will meet Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Finance Minister A K Walia on Monday.

They said the sale of diesel had gone down drastically after the Delhi government raised VAT on it from 12.5 per cent to 20 per cent.

The fuel traders Thursday night called off their day-long strike planned for Friday after Dikshit assured them that the government would look into their demand within 15 days.

"We have called off the strike for now. If the matter is not given consideration, we would be definitely going in for an indefinite strike," Ajay Bansal, general secretary of the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT), said.

"Even Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said our grievances are genuine," said Bansal.

"We will meet Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Finance Minister A K Walia to present our problems. We will give them all the data regarding our losses," Bansal said.

FAIPT is demanding a uniform rate of VAT across the country.

The dealers said that diesel sales had come down in the national capital due to the difference in prices in Delhi and Haryana. While a litre of diesel costs Rs 34.75 in Haryana, commuters have to shell out Rs.38.10 in Delhi.

"The huge difference in VAT charges has forced the people to buy diesel from neighbouring states. This has affected our sales adversely," Bansal added.

Dikshit has asked Delhi VAT Commissioner Jalant Srivastava and Finance Minister A K Walia to ascertain the loss suffered by the traders following the increase in VAT.

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