Pradhan promises 'solution' soon as petrol, diesel prices hit the roof

With fuel prices touching new highs after state-run oil marketing companies raising the prices of petrol and diesel for the seventh time this month, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan has promised a "solution" soon.

The price of a litre of petrol in Mumbai stood at Rs84.07 after Sunday’s price revision by state-owned oil companies.

The price of petrol in Delhi was Rs76.24 a litre and that of diesel Rs67.57 a litre after OMCs increased the price of petrol by 33 paise from the previous day in Delhi, the highest since the oil companies began to revise prices daily in June 2017.

While the minister did not specify what solution he has offered, it is widely expected that there could be some relief by way of duty reductions on these motor fuels.

"I accept that people of India and especially the middle-class families have to suffer a lot due to price hike of oil. It's not in our hand. There is less production of oil in OPEC countries. The Indian government will soon come out with a solution," petroleum minister Dhamendra Pradhan told reporters in Bhubaneswar.

He blamed global geo-politics, including the US pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, for the oil spike. "The fight between America and Iran is the most effective thing which leads to price hike of crude oil in the international market," Pradhan said.

State-run oil companies resumed the dynamic pricing mechanism on 14 May after a brief freeze in prices between 24 April and 13 May, for election campaign for the Karnataka Assembly. The freeze is estimated to have cost oil companies about Rs 500 crore in three weeks, according to a PTI report.

International crude oil prices have risen in the period, while the rupee has fallen against the US dollar – both factors make the fuels costlier.