Reports say Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum will continue to raise the diesel price every month until the current loss of Rs 11.26 on every litre of the fuel they sell is wiped out.
The sole consolation as far as consumers are concerned is a possible reduction in petrol price. Since crude oil prices in the international market have softened considerably over the last one and half months, the three aforementioned companies may cut petrol price by Rs 1 a litre on Friday or Saturday.
Incidentally, the oil firms had cited the rupee depreciation as the reason why they twice opted for a hike in petrol price in the past 30 days despite the Indian basket of crude oil costing much less than in Feb.
On Mar 2, the petrol price was increased by Rs 1.40 a litre (excluding Value Added Tax). A fortnight earlier, a hike of Rs 1.50 per litre (excluding VAT) was effected on Feb 16.
At present, motorists in Delhi are paying Rs 70.74 for a litre of petrol. The diesel price in the national capital is Rs 48.16 per litre.
The common man gets upset each time there is a hike in fuel prices. The opposition parties invariably channel the public anger to suit their political ends while the government cites the cumulative losses incurred by the oil firms to justify the unpopular move.
When petrol price was raised by Rs 7.50 a litre in May 2012, even constituents of the ruling coalition slammed the steep hike. The Trinamool Congress and the DMK demanded an immediate rollback. Though both the parties supported the subsequent nationwide strike called by the opposition NDA, only the TMC went to the extent of exiting the UPA.
The Centre's decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and put a cap on the number of LPG cylinders were other factors that forced West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to pull her party out of the central government.