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People queue as they wait for their turn to fill fuel at a petrol pumpReuters file

As rates of petrol and diesel touched new highs on Friday, the Tamil Nadu government ruled out a tax cut citing welfare measures and put the onus on the Centre to give any relief to the common man.

Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said the state government was delivering various welfare measures to the tune of Rs 77,000 crore and hinted that lowering taxes on petroleum products may cause difficulty for continued delivery of sops.

"For the central government, which collects tax from many sources, it is not a big thing at all (to effect a tax cut). The central excise duty of about Rs 16 per liter (on diesel) can be halved to Rs 8 which will be a big relief," he told reporters.

"This is the plea of the Amma government," he said referring to the Tamil Nadu government. On Friday, one liter of petrol in this city was being sold at Rs 83.13 while diesel cost Rs 76.17.

The Centre has said it will not cut excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the spiralling prices, citing limited fiscal space available to take any dent in revenue collections.

To a question on the Supreme Court directing the state Governor to consider the mercy petition of A G Perarivalan, a convict in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the minister reiterated the state government stands for the release of all seven convicts in the case.

Further course of action will be decided after going through the judgment copy, he added. He also hit out at DMK President MK Stalin for seeking a Cabinet resolution for their immediate release, asking what his party had done on the matter despite being a part of the Centre for many years, including in UPA I and II.

All efforts in this regard were taken only by the "Amma government," he added.