Fuel prices in India had hit an all-time high following 16 days of incessant price hikes, angering people across the country as the Centre continued to refuse to link domestic and international prices.
Following the softening of international fuel rates, state-run fuel retailers announced a cut of 1 paisa a litre each on both petrol and diesel on Wednesday. However, this move was met with heavy criticism by both the public and opposition parties, as it scarcely addresses the predicament of the common man burning his pockets to meet his basic commuting needs.
In a bid to ease the woes of the public, the Kerala government took the nation by surprise by motioning the cutting of fuel charges by ₹1 per litre with effect from Friday.
The move, which will end up costing the state a staggering ₹509 crores, is believed to be in direct retaliation to the Centre’s silence over the issue. A further cut of 7 paise and 5 paise per litre on petrol and diesel respectively, was announced today morning.
According to a report in Firstpost, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The state government has decided to forego ₹1 from its tax portion, and as a result, the loss to the exchequer would be ₹509 crore in a year. We wish to send a message to the Centre that despite pleas from several quarters, it is not doing anything to bring some relief to the people. The price of fuel products is rising when international prices are falling. We did this because we wish to show our intent.”
State governments have the provision and authority to introduce such cuts, and with Kerala taking the lead in doing so, the other states could also take a cue and figure out strategies to ease the financial burden of its citizens, who cannot do without this crucial resource.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)