Petrol, diesel prices hiked for the third time within four days

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Diesel prices were hiked by 21 paise per litre in Delhi and Kolkata, 22 paise per litre in Mumbai and 23 paise per litre in Chennai. But when the fuel prices go up, so does the working capital for buying fuel. In the last four days, petrol prices have gone up in the range of 69-73 paise per litre across Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. Allegations are flying high that the fuel prices were "frozen" with the Karnataka elections in mind.

The increase on Monday and Tuesday totalled 35 paise a litre for petrol and 50 paise for diesel. The highest recorded petrol price in the capital till now has been Rs 76.06 per litre. According to Indian Oil Corporation Limited's website, petrol rates were hiked by 22 paise and was retailing at Rs 75.32 in New Delhi and crossed the Rs 83-mark in Mumbai for the second time ever. In Bengaluru, a litre of diesel is now for Rs 67.94 and in Hyderabad it is Rs 72.60. "Now that the Karnataka elections are over the oil companies will hike up the retail fuel rates to catch up on those losses", said Prashant Reddy, a city-based petrol pump owner. This is not very reassuring for the common man. The companies need to catch up on market prices as 19-day price freeze has created a wider gap.

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The politically risk-free hike not only raised questions about the so-called policy to deregulate energy prices but was also criticised by the Opposition as the worst form of trickery on the people. Oil PSUs that had kept rates unchanged for almost three weeks before Karnataka polls despite a spike in input cost, reverted to daily revision in prices as soon as the state voted.

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