The opposition parties, led by Congress have called a "Bharat bandh" protesting against high fuel prices and accusing the Modi-led government of revising excise duty on petrol and diesel twelve times leading to a sharp spike in their prices. Since mid-August, petrol price has risen by Rs 3.24 a litre and diesel by Rs 3.74 per litre as rupee hit record low against the USA dollar, making imports costlier.
Meanwhile, the increase pushed the petrol price in Delhi to Rs 80.38 per litre.
Petrol prices soared to fresh record high on Saturday across the four metros.
The surge in fuel prices is largely attributed to the rise in crude oil prices and high excise duty in the country.
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According to oil companies, petrol at refinery gate costs around Rs 40.50 a litre and diesel Rs 43.
"Since the central government is not responding on (reducing the) petrol prices, Naidu is doing the exercise to give relief to the public", sources in the TDP said.
The soaring prices are continuing to burn a hole in the pockets of commuters, one of whom feels he may have to avail bank loans to pay for fuel. That it is unpopular is evident by the Rajasthan government's decision, ahead of an assembly election, to reduce local taxes on petrol and diesel.
The price build-up of petrol in Delhi as on September 3, includes excise duty of ₹19.48, dealer commission of ₹3.63, and Value-Added Tax of ₹16.83(including Value-Added Tax on dealer commission). "The state will lose revenue of Rs 1,120 crores due to this reduction in price and in spite of the financial difficulties the state is in, we are willing to bear it", Naidu said. Bharat Bandh was called for today from 9 AM to 3 PM to bring petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which, the grand-old party said, would decrease the price by Rs 15-18.