Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at the government as petrol prices crossed the Rs 100-a-litre mark in Delhi, charging that the Modi government runs on "tax extortion".
"Your car may run on petrol or diesel, Modi government runs on tax extortion," Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, using hashtag 'TaxExtortion'.
Petrol prices crossed the Rs 100-a-litre mark after fuel prices were increased in line with firming international oil trends. In Delhi, petrol now costs Rs 100.21 a litre and diesel is priced at Rs 89.53 per litre. Delhi is the last of the metro cities to see petrol prices rising above the Rs 100-a-litre mark. Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune already have prices above that mark. Kolkata also saw petrol prices climbing over Rs 100 per litre on Wednesday. With North Goa witnessing a 91 paise increase in petrol prices in the last three days, the price stands at Rs98.01.
An opportunity for the lowering of the prices failed when the members of the oil cartel OPEC failed to reach an agreement on the gradual raising of oil production to meet the growing demand. At the meet of the global oil nations, Saudi Arabia, world's largest oil producer and the United Arab Emirates disputed over raising oil production marginally in August while maintaining production level at the same till 2022.
"The situation in global oil markets is not good news for fuel consumers in India. Unless government intervenes by lowering taxes on the two fuels, petrol and diesel retail rates could touch new highs over successive days this month," said an oil sector expert not willing to be named. In the last 2 months, petrol and diesel prices have been raised an astonishing 35 times. This has increased retail petrol prices by Rs 9.46 a litre in the last two months while diesel has also increased by Rs 8.63 per litre during the same time span.
Also, the Centre had raised excise duty by Rs 13 on petrol and Rs 16 on diesel between March and May last year when oil prices collapsed due to the pandemic. The two hikes raised excise duty by 65 percent on petrol from Rs 19.98 to Rs 32.98 a litre and 79 percent on diesel from Rs 15.83 to Rs 28.35 a litre. These high taxes are amplifying the impact of rise in crude prices, sending petrol prices above Rs 100 a litre and diesel above Rs 90 in most parts of the country.
With the expectation that global oil may rise further in the coming days, consumers would have to brace for buying fuel at new record prices everyday.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)