At over Rs 80 per litre, diesel at two-decade high in Mumbai
The price of diesel, which stood at Rs80.51 on Monday, is the highest in Mumbai in two decades, leaving transporters and motorists fuming. Between April and December, the rates of fuel —
MUMBAI: The price of diesel, which stood at Rs80.51 on Monday, is the highest in Mumbai in two decades, leaving transporters and motorists fuming. Between April and December, the rates of fuel —both diesel and petrol —have increased by around Rs 14, making it one of the biggest hikes in recent years. While petrol price zoomed from Rs 76.31 on April 2 to Rs 90.34 on December 7, diesel prices saw a gradual hike from Rs 66.21 in April to Rs 80.51 per litre on Monday.
The record high price of diesel is likely to increase freight charges on transportation by 7-8% and drive up prices of essentials. Transporters from All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) have threatened a repeat of their 2018 nationwide agitation if the hikes are not curtailed.
Sources said diesel was at its lowest in two decades on June 4, 2002 when the rate was Rs 22.84 a litre at the pumps. The increase has been over 250% since then. “Also, the 21% hike in diesel rates during Covid months between April and December and 18% hike for petrol during the same period are uncalled for. We strongly protest the hikes and want the government to give relief on taxes, VAT and excise — the rates for which are highest in our state,” said a leading transporter from Masjid Bunder, requesting anonymity.
According to statistics obtained by TOI, diesel cost around Rs 23 a litre in June 2002, and had increased to Rs 33 in December 2004 after which it was hiked to Rs 40 in June 2006. In a subsequent dip, diesel was around Rs36 in January 2008. The prices went up again — from Rs 44 a litre in March 2011 to Rs 66 in May 2014, followed by a slide to Rs 57 in July 2017. After this, fuel prices witnessed a record hike. By October 2018, it had peaked to Rs 80.10 a litre. Exactly a year later, prices were brought down and it was retailing at Rs 70.76 in October 2019. By April 2, 2020, the prices were further reduced to Rs 66.21. During the initial two Covid months, prices remained steady.
“Prices have been fluctuating since June, and the present rate is unwarranted,” said Bal Malkit Singh, core committee member of AIMTC. “When international crude prices are considerably down, diesel has soared above Rs 80 per litre in Mumbai. The mathematics of decontrol regime is not understandable. It is adversely impacting the common man, farmers and the transport sector,” he said in a statement released on Monday.
Transporters have warned that if pushed to the wall, they may agitate again. In 2018, they had protested with a nationwide chakka jam, which crippled transportation of manufacturing and industrial goods and affected operations at the ports.