Even as the opposition has called for a Bharat bandh, petrol prices soared to fresh record high on Monday. In Mumbai, petrol is now retailing at Rs 88.12 per litre, a hike of 23 paise from previous highs. In national capital Delhi, petrol prices have breached the Rs 80.73 mark, a hike on 23 paise. In Chennai, petrol prices were seen at Rs 83.91 while in Kolkata, one litre of petrol is selling for Rs 83.61.
Notably the opposition led by Rahul Gandhi have called for a Bharat bandh in order to protest against rising fuel prices. According to the Congress, 21 Opposition parties are supporting the bandh. While bus services were hit in Karnataka, Congress workers stopped trains in Odisha’s Sambalpur.
Since mid-August, petrol price has risen by Rs 3.42 a litre even as domestic currency rupee hit record low against the US dollar, making imports costlier. Almost half of the retail selling price of the two fuels is made up of Central and state taxes. Meanwhile, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje announced a 4% reduction in value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel, in effect reducing prices by Rs 2.5 per litre in the state.
VAT on petrol will be reduced from 30% to 26% and on diesel from 22% to 18%, Raje said at a public meeting in Rawatsar, Hanumangarh, as part of her Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra. The Brent backwardation between October this year and mid-2019 is currently around $2.20 per barrel. While Washington exerts pressure on other countries to fall into line and also cut imports from Iran, it is also urging other major producers to raise their output in order not to create too strong a price spike, Reuters reported.