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Cut VAT on CNG: Striking autorickshaw drivers to govt
May, 21st 2012

Over 100,000 autorickshaw drivers in Ahmedabad remained off road on Friday as part of a symbolic one day protest against frequent rise in CNG prices, which has increased by 42 per cent in last one year, and demanded that VAT on the commodity be decrease or removed.

Autorickshaw drivers' unions have demanded that the government should decrease the value added tax (VAT) on CNG which at present is 15 per cent or provide them CNG at a subsidised rates. Following the strike, large number of commuters at railway station and bus depots were stranded. There were some alternative arrangements at the railway station, but it was not enough for all the passengers arriving in the city. Same was the case at bus depot.

The CNG price in May last year was Rs 37.16 per kg, which has now reached, including latest hike on May 15, to Rs 53 per kg, an increase of 42 per cent. The primary supplier of CNG to Ahmedabad is Adani Gas which has 50 CNG stations in the city. It also supplies natural gas to 150,000 lakh domestic customers, 700 industries and 1100 commercial customers in Ahmedabad. Adani gas has attributed hike in CNG to increase in prices of liquified natural gas and fluctuation in currency exchange rates. As many as 11 autorickshaw drivers' unions from the city came together against the frequent increase in CNG prices by the gas company, an have demanded decrease in VAT instead of rising the auto fares. "Increasing auto fares will only burden our customers who will have be pay more. The government should either decreases the VAT or gives CNG at subsidised rates or gets the gas companies to withdraw the rise that was imposed on May 15," convenor for the Ahmedabad Autorickshaw Drivers' Sangharsh Morch (AADSM) Raju Sirke said

"This was fifth increase in the last one year by the Adani Gas company which supplies CNG in Ahmedabad," he added. The AADSM in a statement said that they have made representation to the government asking them the lower the VAT rates on CNG. They said that if the government does not take any decision on the rising CNG rates, the association would be forced to strike again.

"Autorickshaw drivers' associations from other parts of the state will also be joining the stir if the government does not act now," the statement added.

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