Mangaluru, May 10, 2018: It is noteworthy that retail prices of petrol and diesel have remained constant ever since April 24 across the country raising suspicions that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was intent on keeping the Karnataka electorate happy.
The prices have remained at Rs. 75.68 a litre for petrol and Rs. 67.08 for diesel since April 24.
Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) were given the freedom of revising the price depending upon the international crude price as well as international prices of petrol and diesel daily, which were subjected to daily revision with effect from June 16, 2017, instead of fortnightly revision. The average crude oil price in the Indian Basket increased by $5.5, from $63.5 to $ 69.3 from March to April, which should obviously have pushed up fuel prices.
When petrol price reached Rs. 75.19 on April 10 in Bengaluru, the highest ever after Rs. 76.06 in 2013, the Congress had launched a massive campaign against the NDA government blaming it for the ever-increasing fuel prices.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted on April 10, “International crude prices have started falling since 2014. From about $110/barrel in 2013 the prices fell to $26/barrel in Feb 2016. But the Modi Govt has not lowered the petrol/diesel prices. In fact prices are increasing. Where is the money saved going? #BJPFuelLoot."
Shock after May 12?
Many in the fuel industry believe that the artificial cap on price revision would get lifted once Karnataka casts its vote on May 12, and people would be in for a massive shock to pay the hefty price for petrol and diesel.
It appears that the OMCs, which are making thousands of crores of rupees profit since daily price revision was introduced, are bearing the subsidy as oil refineries are being paid revised Refinery Terminal Price once a fortnight.
Satish N. Kamath, a petroleum dealer in Mangaluru, however, said OMCs cannot go on increasing prices and a point has come where the government has to subsidise the products.