Odisha sets a national record with unending fuel price surge as the diesel becomes costlier than petrol. It’s first ever in the country that the diesel on Sunday was sold at Rs 80.69 per litre while petrol was sold at Rs 80.57 per litre. The diesel price rose 12 paise more to petrol price in Bhubaneswar. The steeply escalating fuel prices increases worry as the probability of essential commodities price shoots up is expected.
However, the Odisha government seems more interested in playing the blame game. The Biju Janata Dal and the opposition Congress called the Central government and its policy responsible for the surge in fuel price. Diesel took over petrol since Saturday when it went as high as Rs 80.97 while petrol costed Rs 80.90 in State capital.
“This was the first time that the price of diesel surpassed that of petrol in Odisha. While other states have different VAT rates for petrol and diesel, Odisha charges a uniform 26 per cent VAT on both. He claimed that there has been a decline in the sale of diesel in Odisha because of the high prices of the fuel,” said Utkal Petroleum Dealers Association general secretary Sanjay Lath.
“This imbalance is mostly due to the faulty policy of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. There could be a tactical understanding between the central government and oil marketing companies,” said Odisha Finance Minister S B Behera.
According to sources, the trend to high value-added tax (VAT) on diesel in Odisha compared to other states is the main reason behind the queer development in the fuel price. In the majority of the states, VAT levy on petrol was higher than diesel but Odisha has imposed a uniform 26 per cent VAT on both petrol and diesel. This compounded with an increase in the basic price of diesel by oil companies has led to the situation.
“Excise on diesel is lower by Rs 4 in comparison to excise on petrol. Besides, the dealers margin is also lower by Rs 1.10 on diesel. However, in the last six to eight months, oil companies have increased the basic price on diesel by Rs 5 which is one of the reasons for the unprecedented surge,” said Utkal Petroleum Dealers’ Association general secretary Sanjay Lath.
It will also lead to a hike in public transport fares affecting the multitude of travelling people and commuters across the State. “Under the existing automatic fare fixation system, bus fares are going to be increased on account of diesel price hike,” All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association spokesperson Debashis Nayak said.