State-run oil marketing companies have announced a hike in petrol prices by ~Rs 7.54 per litre with effect from Wednesday midnight, according to reports.
OMCs reportedly said they will raise petrol price by Rs 6.28 per litre (excluding local sales tax or VAT). That translates into an increase of Rs 7.54 per litre in Delhi.
The price of petrol in Delhi has gone up from Rs 65.64 to Rs 73.18 per litre while in Mumbai the price has been hiked from Rs 70.66 to Rs 78.57.
In Kolkata, petrol will now cost Rs 77.88 a litre vs. Rs 70.03 earlier, while in Chennai, the motor spirit will be retailed at Rs 77.53 a litre from Rs 69.55 earlier.
"The decision has been taken. Petrol is a deregulated commodity," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a statement.
R.S Butola, Chairman of Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), has been quoted as saying that the hike was inevitable since petrol prices had not been revised for the last seven months despite a steady rise in global crude oil prices and a sliding rupee.
This is the steepest-ever increase and came a day after Parliament's budget session ended. The highest increase prior to this had been by Rs 5 per litre. This is the first upward revision in petrol price since November 4, 2011.
Reactions from political parties on petrol price hike:
The Government's decision sparked off a storm of protest and demand for rollback from leaders cutting across party lines, including UPA allies such as Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she felt hurt and let down by the "unilateral" decision to hike petrol prices. She demanded a rollback but said she won't pull out from the UPA Government.
"We are not going to pull out of the UPA and topple the government," she said, adding that it would add to political instability and force new elections.
The Samajwadi Party, which is giving outside support to UPA II, has also demanded an immediate roll back of the petrol price hike. "We demand immediate roll back of petrol price hike. The decision is anti-people," said party chief Mulayam Singh.
Mulayam Singh slammed the Centre saying that the hike is the UPA's gift to the people on its completion of three years in office.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi said that his party MPs would ask the Centre for an immediate roll-back. RJD leader Lalu Prasad said he meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and demand a roll-back.
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa called the hike in petrol prices anti-people and blamed the UPA's 'wrong economic policies' for price rise, the rupee's depreciation and the economic slowdown.
Meanwhile, the UP Petrol Traders' Association (UPPTA) has urged the ruling government in the state to slash the rate of value added tax (VAT) over petroleum products to give some relief to the common man.
"The petrol price increase will have some impact on the consumer price index but negligible impact on the wholesale price index (WPI)," said Planning Commission adviser Pronob Sen. But, any increase in diesel prices will have a large impact on inflation.
Another report said that the Centre could reduce petrol prices by more than Re 1 by the end of this month if the declining trend in global crude oil prices prevails.