No bus ticket fare hike in state, fuel price hike marginal, says Siddaramaiah

Bengaluru:  Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Monday clarified that there will be no hike in bus ticket fares in the state at present, while also defending the recent fuel price increase, stating that it is marginal and that fuel prices are still much lower than other southern and BJP-ruled states.

The state government had increased the price of petrol by Rs 3 and diesel by Rs 3.50 on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters at his official residence ‘Krishna’ here, he said that there is no price hike in RTC bus fare and that he will need to discuss the matter with the department concerned.

“The fuel prices were not increased to fund guarantee schemes. If we are able to generate more revenue through liquor and fuel, we can undertake development activities. In this context, the prices of petrol and diesel have been increased,” the CM said.

He noted that the state government is spending Rs 60,000 crore for guarantee schemes, meant for the poor and middle-class people of all castes and communities of the state.

“The current marginal increase in diesel-petrol taxes will generate additional resources of only Rs 3,000 crore. But we are giving Rs 60,000 crore for guarantees. Thus, Leader of the Opposition R. Ashoka’s silly words that the state economy is bankrupt do not make sense,” he said.

Citing statistics, Siddaramaiah said that even after the increase in taxes on petrol-diesel, the fuel price in the state is lower than in the BJP-ruled states and the other states of south India.

“Our prices are lower when compared to them. The fuel prices are higher in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra than Karnataka,” he said.

He recalled that after 2015, even when the price of crude oil was reduced by half in the international market, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government continuously raised the price of fuel without giving the benefit to the people of the country.

He said that the estimated Rs 3,000 crore collected from the increase in value-added tax on petrol and diesel will be paid to the state treasury and that the money will be allocated for people’s welfare programmes and not go into our pockets, he said.

After the implementation of the GST system by the Central government, the scope for resource mobilisation by the state governments is limited. The Centre collects GST, Income Tax, Central Excise Duty etc., but the state government has no sources except registration and stamp duties, vehicle tax, and sales tax on petrol, diesel, and liquor, he stated.

Against this backdrop, the Chief Minister clarified that the state government has increased the tax by a small amount, noting that the prices of petrol and diesel in the state are low compared to other states.

“The BJP leaders, instead of protesting here, should agitate against the Centre. Prime Minister Modi claimed that he would reduce the prices of fuel when the BJP came to power at the centre earlier when the Congress was ruling. But, Prime Minister Modi is doing exactly the opposite of what he stated,” Siddaramaiah said.

“The petrol prices were Rs 72.26 when Prime Minister Modi assumed power. Now the petrol price is Rs 104. The diesel price has jumped from Rs 67.28 to Rs 91 now. Whom should you protest against?” he questioned the BJP.

“We had to go to court to seek compensation for the drought. They had given us Rs 3,454 crore when we had asked for Rs 18,000 crore as relief. The BJP is against welfare programmes for the poor, Dalits, and common people. Don’t their (poor people’s) financial power increase if they are given free bus travel, and Rs 2,000 per month? Don’t they save money if free electricity is given?” he asked, adding that no one had protested when the Centre refused to provide rice to the state after its request.


Comments are closed.