In a first, the price of petrol has crossed the ₹100 per litre-mark in Mumbai on Saturday, as oil companies raised fuel rates for the 15th time in 26 days. After the rates of petrol and diesel surged by 26 and 28 paise, respectively, one litre of petrol in Mumbai was available for ₹100.19, while diesel was priced at ₹92.17 on Saturday.
On Friday, the prices of one litre of petrol and diesel were ₹99.94 and ₹91.87 after they rose by 25 paise and 30 paise, respectively.
In neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai, the prices of a litre of petrol and diesel rose to ₹100.32 and ₹92.29, respectively, on Saturday.
The highest petrol price in Maharashtra on Saturday was reported at Parbhani, where it was available for ₹102.55 per litre.
Fuel prices in the city remained constant from April 15 to May 3. On May 3, petrol was priced at ₹96.83, while diesel was available for ₹87.81 per litre. The prices of the fuel began to increase steadily since May 4. Since then, it has seen a hike of ₹3.54 and ₹4.16 for petrol and diesel.
At Thane, the price of petrol crossed the ₹100-mark on Thursday, after witnessing a surge from Tuesday’s cost of ₹99.83.
In Delhi, the pump prices of petrol and diesel in Delhi also made a new record of ₹93.94 per litre and ₹84.89 a litre, respectively, on Saturday.
After the petrol price reached the three-digit figure, the Shiv Sena staged a protest outside the state Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) headquarters in Mumbai. Workers attached to the south Mumbai unit of Sena put up a banner outside the BJP office with a sketch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on it. Sena’s ally NCP put up posters of PM Modi at Thane and called him the “Man of the match” for ensuring that prices crossed ₹100. The Congress is slated to hold a protest on Sunday over the Modi government’s “complete failure” in the past seven years, a statement from the party read.
Since the Covid-induced lockdown was imposed in March 2020, fuel prices have collectively increased by ₹51.85 in Mumbai. While the price of petrol surged by ₹24.89 from March 22, 2020, diesel rates increased by ₹26.96. On March 22 last year, one litre of petrol was available for ₹75.30, while diesel was priced at ₹65.21.
Citizens have expressed their anger over the rising fuel prices.
“The prices have increased by ₹24 in the past one year, but I do not exactly understand how is there a hike if globally the oil prices have gone down. Last year, when the crude prices were down, the government did not pass any benefit to the consumers,” said Borivli resident Viraj Mamania.
Another Borivli resident, Archie Vora, said, “The government is deliberately increasing fuel prices during the lockdown as there won’t be much uproar among citizens because many are working from home. But they need to understand that the hike will pinch the citizens indirectly and directly in the coming months after the Covid-19 situation normalises with the vaccination process.”
According to Vakola resident Rohit Ahuja, the government must lower the taxes on fuel.
“The steep rise in the prices of petrol and diesel in the past one year has affected several informal sectors. The prices of vegetables, milk and eggs are directly impacted owing to the hike in diesel rates. I think it’s high time that the government considers bringing down the taxed levied on fuel, if it wishes to boost the economy in a true sense,” he said.
Meanwhile, transporters said that they have approached the Central government urging that the excise duty be cut down in order to bring relief to the road transport sector as well as to citizens.
Bal Malkit Singh, chairman of the core committee of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), said, “We have asked the Centre to cut down the excise duty. States should also reduce the value added tax (VAT) to provide some relief to the bleeding transport sector and the citizens of the country.”
He also proposed that petrol and diesel be brought under the goods and service tax (GST).
“An increase in the price of petrol and diesel also increases the prices of essential items. In the past 30 days, the diesel prices have been increased by ₹4.38 in Mumbai. On April 30, it was ₹87.79, while today [on Saturday], it stands at ₹92.17 and petrol price has reached ₹100.19 per litre, making the life of citizens utterly difficult,” Singh said. (inputs from Swapnil Rawal)