Petrol and diesel prices rose for the ninth consecutive day across India. The price of a litre of petrol in Mumbai touched Rs 84.70 on Monday, while diesel will set customers in Mumbai back by Rs 72.48, the highest in the country. On May 20, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had promised a solution to rising petrol and diesel prices.
Petrol prices rose to Rs 76.97 in Delhi, Rs 79.53 in Kolkata and Rs 79.79 in Chennai. It was the cheapest in Panaji at Rs 70.84.
In Delhi, diesel cost Rs 68.08, while it was Rs 70.63 in Kolkata and Rs 71.87 in Chennai. Diesel was cheapest in Port Blair at Rs 63.81 per litre.
State-run oil companies resumed the dynamic pricing mechanism on May 14 after prices were stable for 19 days. Retail prices were frozen between April 24 and May 13, when campaigning was on for the Karnataka Assembly elections. Oil companies are estimated to have lost about Rs 500 crore because of the price freeze for three weeks, PTI reported. International crude oil prices have risen in the period, while the rupee has fallen against the United States dollar – both factors make the fuels costlier.
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd Chairperson Sanjiv Singh said the government had not issued any directive to the state-owned firm to control fuel prices, ANI reported. “There were spikes in prices earlier and we decided to hold them for 19 days,” he said. Singh said all petroleum products should be brought under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax.
Asked if keeping fuel prices constant during the Karnataka elections was a violation of the Centre’s directives of day to day revision, Singh said, “The government has given us freedom to revise prices. We took a call.”
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah said the Centre was taking the matter of rise in oil prices seriously. “The petroleum minister will have a meeting with the officials of the oil companies on Wednesday,” he said according to ANI. “We are working out a formula to reduce the prices.”
Meanwhile, Congress party workers protested outside Tilak Hall in Kanpur against the continuous increase in fuel prices. Congress leader Pawan Khera said at a press conference that the prices of diesel had increased by Rs 2.15, and that of petrol by Rs 2.24 in just nine days. “It is as if both petrol and diesel were waiting for the Karnataka elections to conclude,” he added.