When the whole Country has been burning with the heat of increasing fuel prices and the fear of further increase, Goa came up with a major relief for its residents when it reduced the fuel prices by Rs 7 /litre.
But, the same act of philanthropy has become an headache for Goa Government as it boosted the smuggling of Oil away from the state. Smugglers easily purchase heavy quantity of oil Â ans sell it in the neighboring state of Maharashtra at a heavy margin of Rs 7.
Goa will soon start monitoring petrol pumps located on its borders to deter “petrol smugglers” from spiriting away hundreds of litres of cheap petrol, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Monday said.
A mechanism is being worked out to ensure that the smugglers do not take undue advantage of Goa’s cheap petrol, which at Rs.55 (approx) is priced as the lowest in the country, Parrikar said.
“We are collecting data from these border pumps on a daily basis. We are also working on a concrete mechanism to ensure that people do not take undue advantage of these rates,” Parrikar said.
Goa’s cheap petrol has become a top draw for tourists coming to Goa from Maharashtra and Karnataka. A day after the prices were lowered April 2, petrol pumps witnessed queues from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with eager consumers, including those driving cars with outstation numbers, waiting to tank up.
“If people are visiting Goa and are then going back with their tanks full, there is certainly no problem there, but the other kind of visitor who comes only to buy cheap petrol and bootleg it back to his home state for sale, that will be discouraged,” Parrikar said, adding selling petrol in cans had already been banned in Goa.
In his budget tabled in March, Parrikar had reduced the value added tax, as per a promise in his election manifesto, which reduced petrol prices by Rs.11. The promise was one of the biggest “game changers” in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll campaign.
The reduction of petrol price has provided major relief to a large section of the 14 lakh odd population in Goa, which has one two wheeler for every three resident citizens. As of 2011, the state had 5.33 lakh two wheelers.