James Sangma
File image of Meghalaya power minister James Sangma

Shillong: While fear lingers among the citizens of Meghalaya over prices of essential commodities lightly to increase due to the fuel price hike, Minister-in-charge of Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, James Sangma on Tuesday said that it would be difficult to bring down the taxes since it will affect the revenue of the state.

Reiterating how Meghalaya has the lowest taxes on fuel in comparison to other states, Sangma said that it would be difficult to provide another rebate.

“So if we were to bring down our taxes further, it means our revenue collection will come down. And if it comes down, we will have less money for expenditure, then we will have to cut down expenditure on developmental schemes, and many things will be affected by that,” said Sangma.

According to the minister, the rise of fuel prices is dependent on many factors, and they don’t have control over global oil prices. “I think we are still examining the matter and trying to find ways and means whereby we can try to bring down oil prices, but it looks like a difficult task.

Sangma agreed that prices have a direct bearing on prices of commodities because transportation cost goes up, and many factors affect the price of commodities because of oil price rise.

Asked about how bringing in railways would help, Sangma agreed that bringing in railways reduces the logistic cost to a great extent and it would be very helpful for the state if there was rail connectivity.

“Railways is something that it is not just related to price rises it’s not about logistics chain it is also about the ease of travel and various economic indicators where we will see improvement,” said Sangma.

He also added that the Congress party need to introspect if they are blaming this government over the fuel price crossing the three-digit mark. Putting onus upon the previous government, Sangma said that prices fluctuated many times during the UPA regime.

The price of petrol in the East Khasi Hills District stands at Rs 102.87 and diesel at Rs 95.43.

It may be mentioned that in February 2021, after a series of agitations carried out by the state’s Taxi Association, the Meghalaya govt was compelled to reduce the petrol price further by Rs 5.4 per litre and diesel by Rs 5.1 per litre to offer relief.

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