AS NEWS OF HIKE SPREAD LOCALS LINED UP AT PETROL PUMPS TILL LATE LAST NIGHT TO REFUEL IN OLD RATES
GANGTOK, 24 May: With the announcement of a nation-wide hike in petrol prices by the central government on 23 May, petrol prices in the state have gone up by Rs 7.30 for normal petrol and Rs 7.40 for high speed petrol.
The Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department under the provision of ‘Price Display and Control of Supplies and Distribution, order 1977 revised petrol prices in the state from 24 May, 12:30 onwards. The new prices fixed are Rs. 73.20 per liter in case of normal petrol and Rs. 76.50 per liter for Xtra Premium. Prior to the revised rates, petrol prices in the state were Rs. 65.90 per liter for normal petrol and Rs. 69.10 per liter for Xtra Premium.
The notification issued by the concerned department regarding the revised rates of petrol is to be applicable throughout the state of Sikkim and any person or dealer found contravening the order issued is informed to be prosecuted under the provisions of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and Black marketing of supplies of essential commodities Act, 1980 as well.
Speaking to NOW!, In-charge SNOD petrol pump Deorali, Shanker Sahani, informs that as news of the hike in petrol prices spread, owners and drivers in the capital lined up at the pump to refill their vehicles till late last night. The total petrol sold from SNOD on 23 May went up to 9,000 to 10,000 liters, far higher than normal, he informed.
He mentioned that normally the pump sells about 3,000 to 3,500 liters of petrol per day. Post the hike, taxis and private vehicles are now refilling in smaller amounts, he added.
The hike, the third in one year, came a day after the end of the Budget session of Parliament and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaking of the need to take “difficult decisions” on the third anniversary of UPA-II. This is the first upward revision in petrol price since November 4, 2011. The highest increase so far has been by Rs 5 per litre.
This marks an increase of around 10% and puts a squeeze of roughly Rs 6,000 a year on a family that spends an average of Rs 5,000 per month on petrol.
The Centre had freed petrol price in June 2010 when crude came down to around $40 a barrel from a historic high of $147 per barrel in July 2008. But in practice, oil companies do not move without a signal from the parent oil ministry which officially continues to deny any control. Media reports have quoted sources insisting that the increase was stage-managed. Oil companies usually review prices on the 15th and last day of each month. But Wednesday’s increase was announced mid-week to take advantage of oil minister S Jaipal Reddy’s absence after the Parliament session. Reddy reportedly gave his go-ahead for raising petrol price before leaving for Turkmenistan. His absence gave an opportunity for the government to distance itself from the raise and reinforce the impression that it did not control its price as it was a deregulated fuel.