Petrol and diesel sales fell in April from a year ago period as a nationwide lockdown halted economic activity and travel. However, an increase in demand in the second half of April signal towards resurgence in demand, The Economic Times reported citing unidentified industry officials.The sale of petrol and diesel declined by a record 61 per cent and 56.5 per cent, respectively.
The petrol sales recovered after falling over 64 per cent in the first half of April. Similarly, the diesel sales rebounded after seeing a drop of 61 per cent in the month. Since the government ended some restrictions from April 20 and allowed restricted economic activities, the fuel demand saw a slight uptick in demand in the second half of the month. March was the first month in two-and-a-half years when petrol sales have seen a negative or de-growth.
Jet fuel sales fell 91.5 per cent in the month, while LPG sales increased 12 per cent for the full month of April from a year earlier owing to rise in customers. The report quotes industry experts as saying that the sales may see further improvement as the nationwide lockdown is about to end soon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a lockdown beginning March 25, shutting offices and factories, barring those involved in essential services. Also, flights were suspended, trains stopped plying, vehicles went off the road and cargo movement stopped as most people were asked to stay at home to help check the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Nagaland became the first state in India to levy a coronavirus cess on petrol and diesel. Residents of Nagaland would now have to pay an extra Rs 5 per litre of diesel and Rs 6 per litre of petrol. The Additional Chief Secretary and Finance Commissioner, Sentiyanger Imchen recently said in a notification, "In exercise of power conferred by subsection 3 of section 3A of the Nagaland (sales of petroleum and petroleum products including motor spirit and lubricants) Taxation Act, 1967 (as amended) the Governor of Nagaland is pleased to notify that in addition to existing rate of tax and cess, the COVID-19 cess shall be levied."