NEW DELHI :
State-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Wednesday substantially raised the price of non-subsidized domestic cooking gas across the country.
The hike on Wednesday, the sixth since September last year, for metropolitan cities ranged from ₹144.5 for Delhi for a 14.2kg non-subsidized liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder to 149 for Kolkata. According to information available on Indian Oil Corporation’ website, an LPG cylinder was available for ₹858.5 in Delhi. In Kolkata, LPG cylinder prices were hiked by ₹149 to ₹896, in Mumbai by ₹145 to ₹829.5 and in Chennai by ₹147 to ₹881.
Fuel retailers revise prices of LPG cylinders on the first day of every month, but the price is primarily dependent on the international benchmark rate of LPG and the exchange rate of US dollar and rupee. The last price revision took place on 1 January ahead of the announcement of the Delhi assembly poll schedule on 6 January.
The increase came a day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won the Delhi assembly elections. Fighting on the strongly focused agenda of development and a pro-poor campaign, AAP won 62 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly, for a third consecutive term.
Interestingly, there has been a pattern to energy pricing and elections in India. As the polling for the 17th Lok Sabha came to an end on 19 May, the state-owned OMCs started increasing transportation fuel prices. Interestingly, diesel and petrol retail prices in the country remained subdued during the general elections.
India’s three government-run OMCs, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL), had also refrained from raising prices while the Karnataka poll campaign was on. OMCs on their part have repeatedly denied any correlation between elections and a price freeze on transportation fuels.
Wednesday’s price increase comes in the backdrop of an estimated potential drop in energy demand, as the spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic continued unabated and multiple governments’ cautioned people against travelling to the affected regions. Meanwhile, Indian firms are on a hunt for bargains on diverted cargoes of crude oil and liquefied natural gas, with Chinese energy majors declaring force majeure to avoid taking delivery of some cargoes, Mint reported on Monday.
“It shows that the central government cannot manage the economy. All their decisions are related to the vote bank. Now that elections are over, prices have been increased. In the recent Delhi elections, people not only voted for the work of the Delhi government but also against how the central government has been handling the economy. This decision will have a huge blow to residents of other states," Preeti Sharma Menon, AAP spokesperson said.