Shimla: Ridiculing the sharp increase in petrol prices affected by oil marketing companies as a gift of the UPA government as it completed 3 years in its second term, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal ruled out slashing VAT on the commodity saying that it was already lower than most states included those ruled by Congress.
At an end of municipal election campaign conference call here, the chief minister was responding to union minister Virbhadra Singh suggestion made publically two days ago that impact of the petrol price hike could be reduced if states reduced VAT taxation on it.
Dhumal said that the unwarranted advice should first be applied to Congress ruled states which are levying higher VAT on petrol than Himachal Pradesh. Our VAT charges are already reduced to 20% on petrol and 8.75% on diesel, he said.
The sharpest increase ever of Rs 7.50 on per liter of petrol price is a gift from the UPA government, he added.
The chief minister blamed Congress for having not prepared detailed projects reports under Urban Renewal Mission, an opportunity that the city has lost to upgrade its infrastructure.
It has been the BJP government that got DPR’s prepared that have been approve or are awaiting approval, he said.
With the Shimla municipal corporation controlled by Congress party for the last 26 years, it is in a financial mess today. Water supply was the biggest problem of the hill city, he said.
Financial mismanagement can been seen in the fact that the corporation owes Rs 125 crore to irrigation and public health department for the water supplied to the city, and Rs 2.6 crore to HP state electricity board for the power supplied for public lighting.
The government has prepared a master plan for the city and should BJP win the election, locality specific issues would be sorted out in a time bound manner.
To give relief to small householders who had made partial deviations from approved maps during constructions, the government was brining in a retention policy that would legalise such buildings, said Dhumal.
Expressing satisfaction with the party campaign, he said that with Virbhadra Singh saying that he held no faith in the state election commission and his apprehensions about rigging at the polls had only strengthened belief within BJP that it was winning the election for the opposition was already beginning to blame the referee for a election setback.