The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked Pradesh Congress president Sunil Jakhar to stop sham protests on the issue of lowering taxes on petrol and diesel and instead put pressure on the Congress government to slash VAT on these petroleum products to give an instantaneous relief of Rs 20 per liter to the common man.Speaking about the orchestrated protests by the Pradesh Congress, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said it was incumbent on PPCC president Sunil Jakhar to tell Punjabis why he was indulging in deceitful behavior. “You want the centre to reduce excise on petrol and diesel which it is already examining but refuse to put pressure on your own government to reduce State tax on both these products which is the highest in North India and the third highest in the country. You know that the State government is charging more than Rs 20 tax on petrol and diesel. This can be done away with by one stroke of the pen and it was expected that you would put down your foot and procure this relief for the common man. However instead of walking the talk and giving instant relief you are misleading the people”, he added.
The SAD leader said Jakhar should tell Punjabis why he had “accepted” the contention of Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal that the latter would not reduce VAT on petrol and diesel by even one paisa. “Jakhar had earlier announced that the Congress government would reduce VAT on petrol and diesel on the pattern of the relief given by Kerala. However after Manpreet Badal refused to reduce petrol and diesel prices he has started indulging in meaningless protests to gain cheap publicity instead of taking on the finance minister and asking why no relief is being extended to the common man. Punjabis are feeling cheated by these double faced actions”, Mr Majithia added.Speaking about the Congress government’s draconian decision to delay paddy transplantation to June 20 without consulting farmers, the SAD leader said such decisions were symptomatic of Congress rule. He said the government seemed to be multiplying the problems of farmers who were committing suicide in large numbers after it cheated and betrayed them by refusing to implement the comprehensive Rs 90,000 crore loan waiver as promised.
He said now another crisis had been triggered by delaying paddy transplantation inordinately. “Late transplantation will result in increased moisture content and will make Punjab paddy virtually unsellable”, he added.Asking the Congress government to be practical and understand the problems being faced by farmers, Mr Majithia said paddy transplantation had started in large parts of Malwa since June 10 as per the old guideline. He said now the government should ensure uninterrupted eight hour power supply to the farm sector. “If this is not done, large swathes of paddy which are being sown since the last two days will dry up resulting in a monumental human tragedy in the State”, he added.Mr Majithia asked Sunil Jakhar to utilize his time in a better manner and brief the Punjab government about these emergent issues instead of trying to befool the people by resorting to bogus activities. “Please be sensitive towards the needs of farmers as well as the common man and stop your government from implementing inhuman dictatorial decisions without building consensus on them”, he added.