Bhubaneswar: Odisha government hiked the tax rates on petrol and diesel in its budget for 2014-15, opposition Congress today warned the BJD regime not to repeat the mistakes committed by the previous UPA government at the Centre.

“The people have rejected the UPA for its act of raising the prices of petrol and diesel,” senior Congress member Chiranjib Biswal said while participating in an adjournment debate over petrol and diesel price hike.

Stating that price of petrol and diesel would directly hit the poor and working class who voted BJD to power for fourth time, Biswal said “Don’t try to justify the price hike as it will add to already unbearable inflation.”

“The situation in Iraq could raise petrol and diesel prices in international market,” Biswal said adding Odisha government had earlier reduced tax on petrol and diesel from 20 to 18 per cent in view of rise of price in international market.

Congress Chief Whip N K Das, however, attacked the state government for raising the price of petrol and diesel in the budget. “Your (BJD) drama over price rise is now exposed. BJD used to sit on dharna in front of Raj Bhavan here whenever there is a price hike of petroleum product. The same BJD is now taking steps which added to inflation,” Das said.

Senior Congress member Tara Prasad Bahinipati claimed that the ruling BJD’s concern for the people is now exposed after it raised the tax on petrol and diesel.

Initiating the debate state’s Food and Supplies minister Sanjay Dasburma said the Finance minister decided to restore the tax on petrol and diesel from 18 per cent to 20 per cent in order to generate some additional revenue required for different welfare schemes.

Dasburma also rejected the opposition allegation that price of potato, onion and other items had gone up due to rise in the tax rate on petrol and diesel. “How can the price of PDS items increase when the government has already lifted them (items) and started distributing among the people.”

The minister admitted that both potato and onion were being imported from other states to meet requirement of Odisha.

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