The principal bench of Madhya Pradesh high court on Wednesday issued notices to the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and public sector oil companies while responding to a PIL seeking a reduction in fuel prices, with the petitioner claiming that consumers have to pay high levies for mixing of ethanol in petrol and diesel.
The petitioner Manish Sharma, coordinator of a Jabalpur-based NGO Nagrik Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch told News18.com over the phone that oil companies blend 6 to 7 per cent of ethanol in petrol and diesel per litre under the National Policy on Biofuels. So while the tax on ethanol was 5 to 7 per cent, the levy charged from consumers is as high as 25 to 35 per cent per litre of petrol and diesel, which means the buyer ends up paying Rs 4 to Rs 5 extra as tax, he said.
Customers could have ended up paying millions and billions of extra charges in the last ten years claimed Sharma who has moved a PIL be filed in HC through his counsel Sushant Ranjan Shrivastava on Wednesday.
Sharma claimed that he had drawn information on the matter through RTI and wrote to oil companies on tax anomalies but could not get any satisfactory response from these public sector undertakings which prompted him to move the HC in the wider public interest.
The petitioner claimed that biofuel blended in fuel should attract a GST of 5 per cent while the Centre and state together subject this to a levy of around 51 per cent.
The petitioner has pleaded with the high court to issue necessary oil companies’ orders to stop overcharging from the citizens on biofuel supply. Issuing notices to Petroleum and Natural Gas and Oil Companies’ union ministry, the HC shall hear the matter after six weeks.
Petrol and diesel prices have skyrocketed in the country in last few days as petrol is inching closer to Rs 100 a litre mark in most cities in MP while diesel is selling at around Rs 90 per litre. The rates of regular petrol had last month crossed the Rs 100-mark at a few places in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which levy the highest value-added tax (VAT) on the fuel in the country.