A petrol pump attendant filling fuel into a vehicle in New Delhi. (Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)
A petrol pump attendant filling fuel into a vehicle in New Delhi. (Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)

Fuel prices surge throughout the week, criticism against Centre continues

Several states slashed prices to provide some relief to the middle class.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 20, 2021 11:21 AM IST

Petrol prices rose by 39 paise on Saturday taking the rate past 90 per litre in the Capital, news agency ANI reported. Prices of diesel also rose in New Delhi by 37 paise and consumers will now have to pay 80.97 for every litre.

Petrol prices rose by 26 paise on Monday and stood at 88.99 per litre. The rise in petrol prices has led to widespread criticism of the current government. The Congress party’s Odisha unit in response to the price hike held a six-hour strike, which led to the closure of schools and colleges and affected train services in the state. A PTI report said that activists from the Congress party dressed like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked people if prices of petrol and diesel have been lowered.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma decided to slash petrol and diesel prices on Wednesday in the state. Prices of petrol and diesel had reached 91.26 per litre and 84.23 per litre. “Both petrol and diesel will be reduced by approximately 7. It is being done primarily to ensure that the consumers are not affected by the high prices in order to give some relief to them,” Sangma had said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Petrol prices surged again on Thursday by 34 paise to 89.88 per litre and diesel prices rose by 32 paise to 80.27 per litre. Following the price rise, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut hit out at the Centre saying that despite being seven years in power the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has been unable to address issues related to price rise and chooses to blame previous dispensations. “Where is the money going? Is it going to West Bengal? This is wrong if it is so,” Raut was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The furore among opposition was such that newly-elected Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said if actors Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar do not take a stand on the issue of fuel price hike, it will lead to stoppage of screening of their films and shootings shall also be barred in the state.

Petrol prices crossed the 90 threshold as rates went up again on Friday in the national capital prompting opposition parties to target the government over the continuous rise in prices. Petrol prices were hiked by 31 paise per litre leading prices to go up to 90.19 a litre in Delhi and diesel rose by 33 paise to 80.60 per litre.

PM Modi addressed the issue and said that the problem lies with previous regimes who burdened the middle-class by importing fuel from other countries. “Can a diverse and talented nation like ours be so energy import-dependent?” PM Modi questioned the previous governments while addressing an event in Tamil Nadu.

“I do not want to criticise anyone but I want to say (that) had we focused on this subject much earlier, our middle-class would not be burdened,” he added.

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