Fuel price
Representational image

The Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) has slammed the Nagaland government’s decision to enhance tax on petrol and diesel, calling it a frontal assault on the rights of the people to food and shelter.

The hike in fuel prices has a direct and escalating effect on the cost of essential commodities and construction materials, it pointed out.

The NPF urged the government to immediately roll back the decision before it is too late to control its impact on a beleaguered and stressed society.

In a release, the press bureau of the NPF said the government has come up with a new formula to pump money from the public after its decision to abstract money through Covid cess was rejected by the Naga public.

The government subsequently withdrew the Covid cess on fuel following protests by the public.

It termed this formula as a cruel decision at a time when every citizen is reeling under the economic implosion caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government’s decision has yet again exposed the People’s Democratic Alliance government’s inhumanity and utter disregard for public welfare, it said.

The state government decided to enhance the rate of tax on diesel from existing 14.5 percent to 17.50 per cent or Rs 11.08 per litre, whichever is higher, and petrol and other motor spirits from existing 25 percent to 29.80 percent or Rs 18.26 per litre, whichever is higher, from midnight of November 11.

The NPF said it was stupefied that this sadistic decision came at a time when the public is still valiantly struggling to cope with the cost of commodities that skyrocketed with the earlier increase in cess on petroleum products.

It added that the situation is yet to normalize even after the rollback of the infamous cess.

The Opposition party said the “atrocious decision” will severely handicap the buying power of a consumerist society whose economic capacity is already severely impacted by the pandemic.

The party said this will adversely affect the welfare and livelihood of thousands of citizens, especially the daily wage earners, the private sector entrepreneurs and employees, the small scale businessmen, which in turn will have a ripple effect on their dependents, the rural economy and the whole of Nagaland economy.

The government does not seem to have any scruples towards incurring enormous expenditure for festivities and merry-making by the Naga people, it added.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com