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CSE slams Kirit Parikh panel report

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A prominent today slammed report on petroleum pricing, alleging it has failed to offer effective solution to halt misuse of under-taxed diesel by rich car owners in the country.

"Additional excise duty of a mere Rs 81,000 on diesel cars to equalise the excise tax burden on petrol car proposed by the panel is too little too late," Sunita Narain, head of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said today.

She said the gap between petrol and diesel will continue to incite deadly trend in "diesalisation" of cars and increase public health risks from toxic emissions.

Cheaper diesel fuel will also encourage more cars, more driving and more fuel guzzling in the rebound, she pointed out while demanding substantial and effective increase in excise duty on diesel cars and SUVs if the taxes on fuels cannot be equalised immediately.

The experts group, headed by former Planning Commission member Kirit Parikh, recently recommended freeing of petrol and diesel prices, while raising kerosene and domestic LPG rates by Rs 6 per litre and Rs 100 per cylinder.

Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director of the CSE, said: "The panel's formula is not effective enough to check deadly dieselisation of the car segment that threatens to make our air more toxic, as clean diesel fuels and technologies are still not available in our country."

"The market share of diesel cars is already over 30 per cent of new sales and is expected to be 50 per cent in a couple of years. Car industry has massively scaled up its diesel car production capacity -- without having the requisite clean diesel fuel and technology in place."

In view of the forthcoming Union Budget, has shot off a letter to the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to look into the matter and take necessary steps to equalise or effectively reduce the tax differential between diesel and petrol, Roychowdhury added.

First Published: Fri, February 05 2010. 22:02 IST