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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Following the Centre's announcement of slashing Excise duty on fuel and the Odisha government's orders in reducing VAT on petrol and diesel, consumers have raised hopes that the prices of other essential commodities will come down soon. 

The Odisha government on Thursday announced a reduction of Rs 3 Value Added Tax (VAT) on each litre of petrol and diesel a day after the Centre reduced Excise duty on the vehicle fuels. The new announcement by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, which will be applicable from today (November 5) midnight, came as a big relief for the fuel consumers as the unabated rise in fuel prices burned their pockets since the past couple of months.

Consumers are hopeful that the drop in fuel price will impact the price of other essential items like vegetables, fruits and consumable food items as the transportation expenses will reduce.

“The Central government, as well as the State government, announced a reduction in fuel prices which will impact the prices of other essential items. Prices of essential items should now come down, but we are yet to get benefited," said a consumer.

On the other hand, a vegetable vendor said, "We are purchasing vegetables at the same hiked price as earlier."

Meanwhile, transport agencies have maintained that the benefits of the drop in fuel price will take time to reach the consumers as the agencies hire transportation vehicles on an annual agreement.

President of the Bhubaneswar Goods Transport Association, Niranjan Praharaj, speaking on the impact of the price of goods after the drop in fuel price said, "Prices of petrol and diesel don’t remain constant. There is no guarantee that the current price will remain constant for longer time, it may increase at a later stage. We need to wait and see if the fuel price continues to rise or remains stable for a longer time. We can say anything only after that." 

"Fuel cost drop has impacted the local market as prices of certain essential commodities have come down. Now, the retailers are procuring goods at a reduced price. However, retailers sell the commodities in their stock at previous rates and they won't sell those at a reduced price as they have procured those at a higher price," said Sudhakar Panda, General Secretary, Odisha Traders Association.

While confusion is looming over the slashing of fuel price after the announcement of the Centre followed by the State government's order, the Centre on Thursday announced to rationalise the import duties on edible oil. 

The Central Government has cut the basic duty on Crude Palm Oil, Crude Soyabean Oil and Crude Sunflower Oil from 2.5% to nil in a bid to seize the unabated trend of continuous rise in the cooking oil prices since past one year.

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