Mumbai: After 16 days of relentless petrol and diesel price hike that was witnessed across the country, a cut of 60 and 54 paise respectively was announced on Wednesday morning.
However, the excitement among consumers proved to be short-lived, after the official website of Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) reported an error. Within hours the cut was rolled back to a paltry Re 1 paisa in Delhi and Mumbai.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, "Since we moved to the mechanism of daily price change, prices have gone up and down by 1 paisa, 12 paise, 27 paise etc, it is not for the first time that there has been a change of 1 paisa. However, today one of our employees made a mistake and we accept it."
Many opposition parties and consumers slammed the one paisa cut in fuel prices. Social media, too, went into a tizzy with consumers using hashtags such as '#petrolled' and '#fuelonfire' to highlight the apathy of the common man.
One user posted a picture of the long gone 5 paise coin, saying "My savings today after filling 5 litres of petrol". Another user said, "I am going to invest it in mutual funds now."
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter and asked PM Modi whether the price cut was a prank.
Gandhi said the one paisa cut in petrol rates was not a "suitable response" to the fuel challenge he threw to the prime minister a few days ago.
Dear PM,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 30, 2018
You've cut the price of Petrol and Diesel today by 1 paisa. ONE paisa!??
If this is your idea of a prank, it’s childish and in poor taste.
P.S. A ONE paisa cut is not a suitable response to the #FuelChallenge I threw you last week. https://t.co/u7xzbUUjDS
However, in a big respite for the people of Kerala, the state government decided to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel by Re 1 in the state. The order will come into effect from June 1.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "The decision to reduce fuel prices was taken despite the state facing severe financial difficulties. The Centre must take a cue from the state and bring down the fuel prices as it was causing severe hardship to the common man."
Speaking along the same lines, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should follow Kerala's example and reduce the duties on fuel.
Speaking about the revision of price cut from 60 to 1 paisa, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said, "Clerical error? Nobody can believe that. It is just another joke the Narendra Modi government has perpetrated on the people of the country."
Congress spokesperson RPN Singh said the high fuel prices have adversely impacted the people, especially the middle class and farmers, which has led to agitation across the country. "If we look at the fuel prices in the last four years, there has been Rs 10 lakh crore loot and one paisa relaxation. This is a cruel joke," he told a press conference
Petrol and diesel prices in India are linked to Singapore gasoline prices GL95-SIN and Arab Gulf diesel prices GO-AG, which mostly track movements in crude oil prices LCOc1.
The reason behind the increase in petrol prices in the country is the rise in the crude oil cost and high excise duty levied on the particular fuel type.
(With agency inputs)...