New Delhi: After the Centre made it clear that is in no mood to cut the central excise duty on petrol and diesel, political pressure is now building up on state governments to cut local sales tax or VAT on fuel. After Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal too has intervened to lower duties.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was the first to reduce taxes on Sunday. The BJP-ruled state reduced VAT on petrol from 30% to 26% and on diesel from 22% to 18%. As a result, the prices of both fuels has declined by 2.5 per litre.

The very next day, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu followed in Raje’s footsteps to reduce fuel prices by 2 a litre.

And today, it was Mamata Banerjee’s turn. Prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced by Re 1 per litre in West Bengal.

Ahead of Lok Sabha elections next year and assembly elections in several states, pressure is now building up on other state governments to cut fuel prices.

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has said the state is considering options to reduce duties on fuel.

As a result of rising global crude oil prices and a falling rupee, petrol and diesel prices continue to be at all-time record highs in India.

Prices are the steepest in Maharashtra and the lowest in Andaman and Nicobar islands due to variations in the central excise duty, state taxes and transportation costs. Among major cities, petrol is the most expensive in Mumbai, where it costs 88.26. In Parbhani, 500 km away from Mumbai, the price has crossed the 90 mark at 90.02.

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