After the sharp criticism over the steepest hike,petrol price was today cut by Rs 2 per litre,a partial rollback of the Rs 7.54 a litre increase effected more than a week ago.
The reduction,a result of fall in international oil prices,will mean that petrol in Delhi will cost Rs 71.18 per litre from midnight tonight,as against Rs 73.18 at present.
The decision,flowing out of the fortnightly review by oil marketing companies,came as some relief for consumers battered by double-digit inflation and the May 24 hike,which was the steepest ever that came on top of two increases in a year.
The May 24 hike had come under sharp attack from all political parties including allies like TMC and DMK and some ministers in the UPA and there was all-round demand for a rollback.
The Left and NDA had on Thursday organised a nationwide strike in protest against the hike.
Last week’s steep Rs 7.54 per litre hike was done considering an average gasoline price of USD 124.37 per barrel and a rupee-dollar exchange rate of Rs 53.17 in the first fortnight of May.
Gasoline price have since fallen to USD 115.77 per barrel in the second fortnight but rupee-dollar rate has worsened to Rs 54.96 to a US dollar during the period.
The fall meant that petrol rates would be cut by Rs 1.68 per litre,excluding local sales tax or VAT. In Delhi,after including 20 per cent VAT,the reduction will be Rs 2 a litre.
Earlier in the day,West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her unhappiness to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the repeated hike in petrol prices and urged him to rollback the recent one,which she termed as the “steepest”.
“I have told him (Prime Minister) that public is unhappy about this repeated hike (in petrol price) and requested him to rollback the price hike”,Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister said,”I told him when there is a decrease in the global crude prices,why will there be a rise in petrol prices in India?”
“I requested him to try. I told him to rethink”,the chief minister added.
“He told me yes,there are problems faced by petroleum marketing companies”,said Banerjee said.