Darjeeling: The Centre on Thursday announced a Rs 2.50 per litre cut in petrol and diesel prices by reducing excise duty and asking PSU oil firms to take a hit of Rs 9,000 crore, a step that was matched by BJP-ruled states by slashing VAT to double the reduction in retail rates.The price cuts would be effective from Thursday midnight.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while dubbing the Centre’s move an ‘eyewash’, strongly turned down Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s appeal to the states to match the Centre’s Rs 2.50 reduction of fuel prices by reducing VAT. She insisted that the Centre should first roll back the Rs 10 cess they had imposed on fuel prices recently. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”Even before you told us we had reduced the fuel prices on our own. What about the Rs 10 cess that has been imposed? First roll back that amount immediately, and then we will talk. You can control BJP-run states but not us. You don’t even give money to non-BJP states,” Banerjee said in Siliguri on Thursday.The Chief Minister questioned why fuel prices were skyrocketing despite the price of oil decreasing in the international market. “The price of essential commodities is increasing because of this. The rupee is being devalued. The price of LPG has increased manifold as well. The economy is in shambles,” thundered Banerjee. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe Chief Minister is on a two-day visit to North Bengal. On Thursday she attended the “Milan Samaroho” of the Paschim Bangal Hindi Bhasi Parishad in Siliguri, followed by an award ceremony of the Siliguri Journalists Club.Addressing the gathering of Hindi speaking people at Uttar Banga Marwari Bhawan on Sevok Road, Siliguri, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made it clear that she had not come to ask for votes. Without naming any political outfit, the Chief Minister stated that everyone is aware of the party that fomented trouble in Darjeeling. “Your business suffered owing to the trouble in Darjeeling. You have to remember that if there is peace then only there can be prosperity,” stated Banerjee. The Chief Minister added that all communities are safe in Bengal and coexist harmoniously. “Bengal does not indulge in divisive politics. You all know that. You stay here because you are safe and your families and businesses are secure in Bengal,” she added.Later while attending the Siliguri Journalists Club event at the Uttarkanya Auditorium, the Chief Minister gave a clarion call for journalists to unite. “You all have to unite for your security, job security and security of your families,” Banerjee said.