Petrol pumps in Maharashtra launch indefinite strike over sales tax

Mumbai: Petrol pump dealers across Maharashtra have launched an indefinite strike to protest against high sales tax in the state, which they claim, is driving business to neighbouring states.

Maharashtra levies 34 per cent sales tax on auto fuels - the highest in the country - against 21 per cent in Goa, 28 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat and 30 per cent in Karnataka.

"The strike is total," said Ravi Shindhe, president of the Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers' Association (Fampeda).

He said only company-owned-company-operated (COCO) pumps are operating in the state and that the trade body had not received any call from the government to withdraw the strike.

The 2,200-odd members of Fampeda will stop buying and stocking fuel, its general secretary Uday Lodh said.

He said the disparity in sales tax, which reflects in the prices, was leading to a flight of high-volume diesel trade from Maharashtra to the neighbouring states.