“The rate of petrol is higher than jet fuel (ATF). Is this a pro-poor government," party founder S Ramadoss asked even as the fuel now attracts highest ever excise rate of Rs 16.95 per litre.

Quoting media reports that this was perhaps the first time when petrol rates had overtaken that of ATF, he expressed doubts whether any country in the world adopted such policy.        

The government's decision on increasing the excise duty on petrol and diesel had affected the poor and middle class whereas NDA "is being generous to the rich by lowering ATF prices," he said in a statement.

He said he could not understand what kind of policy it was when the price of fuel used by the rich was slashed heavily while it was not the case with petrol used by the motorists.

"During the Lok Sabha elections, BJP got votes promising that it will safeguard the interests of the poor. But the central government's decision are entirely different. It is not clear if the decision (to levy higher excise duty on petrol) was taken thinking that those who fly in aeroplanes are really poor," he said.

However, it was 'unacceptable' that the fuel used by motorists costs more than that being used by air passengers, he said while seeking that the Centre 'review' such taxes and cut fuel rates corresponding to their international prices.     

After four duty hikes totalling Rs 7.75 per litre, petrol now attracts highest ever excise rate of Rs 16.95 per litre. Traditionally, petrol being of lesser quality than ATF, would cost less. But four consecutive excise duty hikes in three months have reversed this.

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