Considering that petrol prices in Maharashtra have hit Rs 90, the unimaginable Rs 100-mark does not seem very far away. While petrol prices have seen dramatic increase in Delhi and Mumbai, it is in the city of Parbhani that the fuel price is at the highest-level in India. Nowhere in the country are the fuel prices as exorbitant as in this Maharashtrian city. Located in the eastern part of the state, 200 km from Aurangabad, Parbhani has breached the Rs 90 mark, with petrol prices at Rs 90.05 per litre. Diesel is being sold here at Rs 77.92 per litre.
Petrol prices in Parbhani touched Rs 80 on January 8 this year. From thereon, there has been some fluctuation, with both hike and cut in prices up till today, when it touched Rs 90.05. So, it's taken about 9 months for petrol price to increase from Rs 80 to Rs 90 in Parbhani. If the rate of increase in petrol prices doesn't slow down and continues at the same pace, fuel prices could touch Rs 100 in the first half of 2019. The people of Parbhani will be praying the state government steps in and announces a tax cut, even if the Centre refuses to budge.
In fact, top officials in the Finance Ministry have ruled out any cut in levies in the near future claiming "no scope for a cut in excise duty by the Centre and VAT charged by the states."
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announced a cut of Rs 2 in petrol and diesel prices. Similarly, Rajasthan also reduced taxes on both petrol and diesel by 4% leading to a cut of Rs 2.50 per litre.
Monday's Bharat Bandh, a protest against rising fuel prices yielded a cold response from the ruling party. BJP's official handles, however, released a faulty graph on social media. Meanwhile, fuel prices continue to increase. A litre of petrol in the national capital now costs Rs 80.87, while it is Rs 88.26 in Mumbai. Diesel, too, is not far behind. A litre of diesel will cost Delhi residents Rs 72.97 and Rs 77.47 to Mumbai residents.
The BJP government faced stiff criticism from the Opposition. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh criticised the BJP government for failing to keep its promise. "Time has come to change this government," said Singh.
BJP responded to Congress' criticism and said that it is out of their hands. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "Diesel, petrol price rise is out of our hands because oil-producing countries have limited production."
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)