When people are crying onion tears and feeling unbearable pinch from food inflation hitting roof, they have further been slapped with petrol price spike instead of getting any government’s cushion and compassionate measures for respite and relief. In a situation where Mahangai Dayan already wreaking havoc, the oil companies have ratcheted up the petrol price and the government looks a mute spectator. It is true that the contour of international crude looms serious as the price of crude hovering around $93/ barrel may drift to triple digit. But in the context of our country, the pricing of petrol is fueling the fire of concerns. In February 2008 petrol was pegged at Rs 45.52 a litre in Delhi when the crude that India buys averaged a little over $92/barrel, while today, the fuel costs Rs 58.37, or 28% more a litre, even though crude costs a bit more than before at $93 a barrel in January. The mechanism of petrol pricing is indeed a jigsaw puzzle and more disappointing that the Central dispensation which already threw up its hand to bridle the skyrocketing prices has been blindfolded by the oil firms and the petrol price was inched up. The policy makers could not shrug it off that the petrol price will have wide ramification in the high inflationary time and price-stricken hoi polloi will take further beating. Speculation is rife that the inflation which showed downward trend last week could up again. Does it mean that the UPA-government was much concerned with people in 2008 and compelled oil firms to bear the losses and it now drifted apart from common people, letting oil companies jack up petrol price in already-high inflationary situation.
Petrol has seen six price revisions in the last six months, while the government has capped prices of diesel. If the government claims that it has given leeway to the oil firms to fix prices of its products as per international crude cost, the question arises that why not the diesel prices spiraled up? It seems that the loss incurred owing to the capped diesel price is redeemed with spiking the petrol price. It is pertinent, when crude oil is costing bomb, why is the government imposing different taxes on the petroleum products? On this issue both the Centre and the state governments are riding on the same bandwagon. Whenever the prices of petroleum products are zoomed out, a protest is orchestrated by some political parties. The Trinamool Congress, ally of the UPA-government, staged protest in West Bengal and phrased out its anger, saying the party was not consulted before the price hike. This kind of antagonism is mere a politics and complete hogwash when people are badly battered with surging prices and basic food items are becoming inaccessible. The reality is that no political party is concerned with the plight of people and they are rather somersaulting to consolidate their vote bank. The vote bank politics vis-à-vis economy is detrimental for ‘India Shining’.