Petrol and diesel prices were hiked again on Monday, the sixth such hike in the last seven days. While the price of petrol was increased by 30 paise a litre, the diesel rate rose by 35 paise per litre, reported PTI.
Since the revision in fuel prices began on March 22, petrol prices have increased by Rs 4 in all, while diesel rates have gone up by Rs 4.10 per litre.
A litre of petrol will cost Rs 99.41, while diesel will be sold at Rs 90.77 in Delhi, a price notification of Indian state fuel retailers showed.
In Mumbai, India’s financial capital, consumers will have to pay the highest price for fuel among all the cities. The price of petrol rose to Rs 114.19 per litre, while diesel price went up to Rs 98.50.
The price of petrol in Chennai is Rs 105.18, while diesel cost Rs 95.33. In Kolkata, a litre of petrol rose to Rs 108.85, while diesel will be sold at Rs 93.92.
Ahead of the Assembly polls in five states, fuel rates had been on a freeze since November 4. This was also the period in which the cost of crude oil surged by nearly $30 per barrel. Oil firms had not revised fuel prices for 137 days despite the substantial increase in global oil prices.
On March 24, Moody’s Investors Services said that the three state-owned fuel retailers – Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd – incurred losses of around $2.25 billion (Rs 19,000 crore) in revenue for keeping petrol and diesel prices on hold during Assembly polls.
While fuel prices in India are regulated by oil marketing companies, it has often been observed that the rates remain unchanged during elections and are hiked after the result day.
For 18 days in March and April last year, the prices of petrol and diesel remained unchanged as four states and a Union Territory went to polls. However, after the results were announced on May 2, the prices rose steadily to hit record levels.
Speaker tells opposition to bring up fuel hike during Zero Hour
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday asked Opposition parties to raise the matter of fuel price hike during the Zero Hour, and let the Question Hour go uninterrupted, reported PTI.
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Trinamool Congress’ Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s TR Baalu had demanded discussion on the matter. Opposition leaders also raised slogans demanding reduction in fuel prices.
The speaker then asked the leaders to discuss the matter at 12 pm, during Zero Hour.
“I will not allow forced adjournment of the House,” Birla said, according to PTI. “The Question Hour is vital to raise people’s issues. Please sit down. I will give you the opportunities during Zero Hour. I give opportunities to you all.”
Oppositions criticises fuel hike
Opposition parties had on Sunday castigated the Modi government for the regular rise in fuel price.
The Trinamool Congress demanded a discussion on the matter in Parliament. Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien questioned why the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre is increasing rates in a “hush-hush manner sans any discussion”.
On Saturday, the Congress urged people to protest outside their homes and in public places by beating “drum-bells and other instruments” on March 31.
The party has also planned district-level protests against inflation between April 2 and April 4, and state-level demonstrations on April 7.
“When will the the Bharatiya Janata Party’s intoxication from its victory wear off?” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala asked. “Till when will people have to bear the brunt of inflation from all sides?”
He also demanded that the Centre should give an account of the Rs 26 lakh crore “accrued” through excise duty on petrol and diesel in the last eight years.
Surjewala claimed that the BJP-led government increased excise duty by Rs 18.70 for petrol and Rs 18.34 for diesel in total since it came to power in May 2014. “This is a shocking 531% hike in excise duty on diesel, and 203% increase in excise duty on petrol,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson claimed that the previous United Progressive Alliance government gave a subsidy of Rs 1,42,000 crore on petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas. In comparison, the Modi-led government gave a subsidy of only Rs 11,729 crore, he said.
On March 8, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri had said that there was a “war-like situation” in a part of the world, and that oil marketing companies would take that into account.
He had denied that oil price hikes had been stalled due to Assembly elections in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.