Diesel costlier than petrol: Odisha passes buck to Centre

Bhubaneswar: With diesel getting costlier than petrol in Odisha, arguably a phenomenon observed for the first time in the country, political blame-game has now started between the ruling-BJD in the State and the BJP which leads the NDA government at the centre.

While the price of diesel is Rs 77.24 per litre in neighbouring West Bengal, the same costs Rs 80.53 in Jaleswar of Balasore district.

The dealers association in Odisha claimed that the business of several petrol pump owners in the State along the border has reduced by almost 50 percent as most consumers are moving to West Bengal to get their tanks filled.

Similar situation has cropped-up in Delhi as consumers are flocking to buy petrol and diesel from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where fuel is much cheaper. The members of several petrol outlets observed a strike today after the Delhi government refused to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel and petrol.

The members of Utkal Petroleum Dealers’ Association informed that they will soon submit a memorandum to the Odisha government in this regard.

It is pertinent to mention here that diesel was being sold at a higher rate than petrol for the third consecutive day in Bhubaneswar today. The diesel price stood at Rs 80.94 per litre against Rs 80.36 for one litre of petrol.

However, the Odisha government has passed the buck to the Centre.

State Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera targeted Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for fluctuation in fuel prices.

“The base price of diesel is nearly Rs 5.13 higher than petrol. Since the day NDA came to power, there is a deviation in the pricing and tax has been hiked by almost 330 per cent as compared to UPA times,” said Behera.

Behera further informed that the base price of petrol was Rs 48.89 and for diesel it was Rs 44.72 in 2014 while in 2018 the base price of petrol stands at Rs 43.08 against Rs 48.21 for diesel.

BJP on the other hand demanded that the Odisha government should reduce VAT on diesel.

“Fuel prices are much cheaper in several other States including West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and why the rates are higher in Odisha. The State government needs to introspect so that people here could get some relief,” said BJP spokesperson, Golak Mohapatra.