Fuel prices soared to record levels on Thursday as oil marketing companies (OMCs) raised fuel rates across metro cities, except in Kolkata where rates fell after the state government's decision of an excise cut.
Petrol price has reached Rs. 81 per litre in Delhi, as stated by price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. A litre of petrol was sold at Rs. 88.39 in Mumbai, Rs. 82.87 in Kolkata, Rs. 82.41 in Chennai and Diesel was retailed at a price of Rs. 73.08/ litre in Delhi, Rs. 77.25 per litre in Chennai, Rs. 77.58 per litre in Mumbai and Rs. 74.93 per litre in Kolkata.
Retail prices of petrol and diesel hiked record levels due to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) raising rates by 13 paise per litre and 11 paise per litre respectively.
Delhi's petrol price which costs Rs 81 per litre and diesel which costs Rs 73.08 per litre is the highest ever prices recorded in the country’s history.
The government, on the other hand, has been sparing no effort to deal with the ever-rising prices of petrol and diesel in the country. The rupee value down fall also resumed unabatedly.
Rupee slumped to a historic low of Rs 72.91 on Wednesday. This has forced the RBI to sell US dollars in the market via public sector banks to bring the Indian currency back from the low. The rupee however recovered further from its previous level of Rs 72.18 to Rs 71.96. The rupee unusually has fallen over 13 per cent against the dollar since January.
Excluding September 5 and September 12, fuel prices have been escalated almost daily across India over the past few weeks. Experts hold the opinion that high excise duty, weak rupee and expensive crude oil is creating this abnormal petrol and diesel prices to record highs. High global crude oil cost is another factor for rising oil prices in a country like India which is a net importer of oil.
Despite this condition, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goal, yesterday during a press briefing refused to answer any questions on rising fuel prices.
The government, nonetheless has discarded any cut on excise duty for petrol and diesel, giving the reason that it would cause revenue loss.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday accused Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) of the rise in international prices of crude oil and saying that the solution for the fuel price hike is not hands of Government.
He said, “An atmosphere of fear is being created. When there is no support for the protests, they are resorting to violence. We stand with the people on this issue but the solution to the increase in petrol and diesel prices is not in our hands. There is political instability in Venezuela. An attempt was made on the life of the Venezuelan president. There are US sanctions on Iran. The oil production in US has decreased. We have to depend on imports for oil.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday that West Bengal government has decided to reduce the fuel prices by Re 1 per litre. Earlier Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan also reduced the fuel prices by and Rs 2 per litre and Rs 2.5 per litre respectively.