Petrol and disease prices were hiked for the tenth day in a row on Tuesday, by the state-owned oil marketing companies across the country, ever since they restarted daily price review, after ending an 82-day hiatus due to lockdown.
Petrol price in Delhi was hiked to Rs 76.73 per litre from Rs 76.26, while diesel rates were increased to Rs 75.19 a litre from Rs 74.26, the price notification said. In Mumbai the cost of petrol is at Rs 83.62 for per litre and diesel is at Rs 73.75 per litre. While in another metro city Kolkata consumers will have to shell out Rs 78.55 per litre and for diesel Rs 70.84 per litre. While the southern city Chennai the prices for the two fuels stand at Rs 80.37 for a litre of petrol and people will get diesel at Rs 73.17 per litre.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded that fuel prices should be slashed as crude prices have fallen across the world.
“I see no logic in why the Government would even consider such a price increase at a time when the economic impact of Covid-19 is depriving millions of jobs and livelihood, devastating business big and small, rapidly eroding the income of the middle class, even as farmers are struggling to sow the crop for the Kharif season,” wrote Sonia Gandhi.
The letter comes in the wake of fuel prices daily hike taking the total increase since the resumption of the dynamic price revision system to more than Rs 5 per litre.
Sonia wrote in the letter, “I urge you to rollback this increase and pass on the benefit of low oil prices directly to the citizens of this country.”
Sonia Gandhi said, she is “deeply distressed” that in these exceedingly difficult times since the beginning of March, the Government has taken the wholly insensitive decision to increase petrol and diesel prices on no less than ten separate occasions.
The Congress President alleged that the Government is seeking to earn an additional revenue of nearly Rs 2,60,000 crore by these ill-advised hikes in excise duty and increase in the petrol and diesel prices.
Sonia in her letter said, “It is a matter of record that despite historically low oil prices over the last six years your government’s revenues have been massively enriched by the cumulative increase in excise duty on petrol and diesel on twelve different occasions (by an additional Rs 23.78 per litre on petrol and Rs 28.37 on diesel).
This translates into a 258 per cent increase in excise on petrol and 820 per cent hike in excise duty on diesel yielding in these six years a staggering Rs 18,00,000 crore from excise collection on petrol and diesel alone.
“If ever there was a time to deploy these resources in the service of the people, it is now,”said Sonia.
While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also hit out at the Centre over daily increase in fuel prises on Monday.
He had tweeted, “Middle class, poor pay for gifts crony capitalists get.”
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 15, 2020
Putting together each day’s hike since the past 10 days, petrol price has gone up by Rs 5.47 per litre and diesel by Rs 5.8 a litre.
The hike in diesel rates is the highest daily increase since the state-owned fuel retailers started daily revision in rates in May 2017.
The freeze in rates was imposed in mid-March soon after the government hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel to shore up additional finances.
Oil PSUs Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) instead of passing on the excise duty hikes to customers adjusted them against the fall in the retail rates that was warranted because of fall in international oil prices.
Industry officials said the hike was necessitated because benchmark international rates have bounced back from a two-decade low.