The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday announced a reduction in the value added tax on petrol and diesel in the state, ANI reported. Prices will be reduced by Rs 2 per litre, and the new rates will come into effect from Tuesday, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said. On Monday, petrol cost Rs 85.60 per litre in Hyderabad, and diesel was at Rs 79.22 per litre.

The decision came as political parties, led by the Congress, observed a countrywide shutdown on Monday to protest increasing fuel prices.

The Telugu Desam Party government’s decision will cost the exchequer around Rs 1,120 crore annually, the Hindustan Times reported. The state government currently levies 31% value added tax plus Rs 4 as additional tax per litre of petrol and diesel, which will now be reduced to Rs 2, PTI reported.

During a teleconference with his party leaders on Monday, Naidu criticised the Centre for the fuel hike. “This is becoming an unbearable burden on the common man,” Naidu said, according to PTI. He added that the increase in fuel prices led to an escalation in prices of essential commodities.

“The Centre should act responsibly and reduce excise duty and cess to provide immediate relief to the poor and middle class people,” he added.

Several Opposition workers in Andhra Pradesh were taken into custody as they participated in the Bharat Bandh. The Telugu Desam Party also organised separate protests against the steep hike.

In March, the Telugu Desam Party pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP over the Centre’s refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh. The party had also accused the BJP-led government of not allocating enough funds for the state in the Union Budget this year.

Schools were closed on Monday in Bengaluru, Karnataka, and across Odisha. There were reports of sporadic violence from across the country. Almost 400 bandh supporters were detained in different parts of Tripura while the Arunachal Pradesh Police arrested around 100 Congress activists. The police in Pune have arrested six MNS workers for allegedly trying to close shops forcefully.

In Maharashtra

Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Home (Rural), Finance and Planning Deepak Kesarkar told News18 that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was also considering lowering value added tax for fuel in the state. On Sunday, Fadnavis pitched to bring petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax to reduce the price. “If the GST Council moves this proposal, then Maharashtra will support it,” Fadnavis said.