The prices of both petrol and diesel have been at their record high levels for around a week now, with the petrol price crossing the Rs 80 per litre mark on Saturday. According to petroleum dealers in the State, compared to Friday's price, petrol on Saturday cost 41 paise more while diesel price rose 48 paise a litre. Diesel was priced at Rs 77.47 per litre in Mumbai on Tuesday. The government is of the view that a weak rupee along with high worldwide crude oil prices can impact fiscal deficit as well as current account deficit.
In other metro cities, too, fuel prices continued to soar. On May 16, 2014, the petrol price was Rs 71.41 which took the percentage increase to 75.8.
While in Tamil Nadu, the strength of MTC and other state-run buses were affected as the trade unions affiliated to the opposition DMK and Left parties had yesterday announced that workers attached to their unions will not report to work.
As the Congress top brass including party chief Rahul Gandhi targeted the Narendra Modi government at a protest rally at Ramlila Maidan here, the BJP claimed that the bandh was called to divert attention from the hearing in the Delhi High Court on a matter related to the National Herald case involving its "corrupt" leaders.
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Opposition parties have called for a nation-wide "Bharat Bandh" on Monday (September 10) to protest against the spiralling fuel prices. Also in attendance were former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Condemning the statement of the union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan that the petroleum prices were increased due to hike petroleum prices in worldwide market and increase in Value-Added Tax by state governments, Naidu said such statements were far from truth and were aimed only to mislead the people. The central government had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in nine installments between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then it cut the tax just once in October past year by Rs 2 a litre.
These fuel price figures were released by the BJP. "Diesel, petrol price rise is out of our hands because oil-producing countries have limited production", Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Calling the hike in prices of petroleum products a "momentary difficulty" due to the global crisis, the BJP on Monday condemned incidents of violence during the Bharat Bandh.