West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday rode an electric scooty to Nabanna to protest against the price hike of petrol, diesel and gas.
The Trinamool Congress supremo was seen riding pilion on a scooty with ex-Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation Firhad Hakim from Kolkata’s Hazra to the West Bengal secretariat in Howrah.
Banerjee had been raising the issue in her recent rallies and events. But Thursday’s initiative was her first direct protest event against the recent spike of petrol, diesel and gad prices.
Petrol and diesel prices have begun to pinch consumers harder with oil marketing companies (OMCs) reserving the weekend for effecting the steepest hike in last several months.
With this increase, petrol is now priced at Rs 92 and diesel at Rs 84. Petrol has breached Rs 90 per litre-mark across all metros and around all major cities of the country. In fact, retail price of petrol has crossed Rs 100 a litre-mark in several cities among Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. These states also have one of the highest level of local levies on petroleum products in the country.
In the last 12 days (since February 9), the price has gone up by Rs 3.63 per litre for petrol while the diesel rate has risen by Rs 3.84 a litre.
Across the country as well the surge in fuel prices ranged from 35-40 paisa per litre depending on the level of local taxes on the two petroleum products.
In Mumbai, petrol prices is just Rs 3 per litre short (Rs 97 a litre) of touching three digit mark of Rs 100 per litre for the very first time ever. Diesel prices in the city is closing on on Rs 90 a litre (Rs 88.06 a litre).
In all other metros, petrol is over Rs 90 a litre mark while diesel is well over Rs 80 a litre. Premium petrol has crossed Rs 100 per litre mark in several cities of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra a few days back.
The increase on Saturday has followed the firm global oil prices (both product and crude). Interestingly, the crude price has softened marginally over last few days after crossing $ 65 a barrel mark earlier this week. It is around $ 63 a barrel now.
Since fuel prices are benchmarked to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate, pump prices can be expected to remain northbound over the next few days even if crude hovers at the current level or falls.
The petrol and diesel prices have increased 24 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 6.87 and Rs 7.10 per litre respectively so far this year.
Oil companies executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced in line with global developments to prevent OMCs from making loss on sale of auto fuels.