Road transporters have strongly opposed the government’s decision to decontrol diesel prices by allowing oil companies to increases rates. They said it would result in enormous loss to the transport industry and suggested that diesel and petrol be brought under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST). They also called for a ceiling on taxes by states and on Central excise duties.

In its reaction to the diesel decontrol decision, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), an apex body of transporters, both cargo and passenger, said in a communiqué that any increase in diesel prices would have a dampening effect not only on the transport sector but also on the common citizen of the country due to the cascading impact on the prices of essential commodities.

Any hike in diesel prices would have the maximum impact on the commercial vehicles segment, which works under contractual obligations, it said, and added that the impact on the transport sector would mean an escalation in transit costs and, therefore, a steep jump in the overall price index.

 “We, the road transport sector, will not be able to absorb such hike when it is difficult to make ends meet due to ever increasing prices of diesel, tyres, insurance, toll, spare parts, labour charges, penalties as well as the quantum of money extorted by corrupt officials of RTO, police and commercial tax department,” AIMTC said.

The transport body asked the government to reduce excise duty, Customs duty and VAT on diesel, which constitutes around 50 per cent of the cost.

AIMTC claimed that India’s neighbouring countries, who import about the same volume of crude oil, had lower diesel prices because their oil companies and refineries had kept production costs and overheads low. It called on Indian oil companies and refineries to do the same.