Yes, one litre of petrol in Kerala’s southernmost town at Parassala, bordering Tamil Nadu in the southern side has crossed Rs 100 on Thursday morning, after the day’s price went up by 26 paise and touched Rs 100.04 per litre. This is the first time in the southernmost state where the price has crossed Rs 100 a litre.
The price of one litre of petrol shot up from Rs 90 to Rs 100 a litre in just four months.
In the state capital city, one litre of petrol on Thursday costs Rs 99.27 and the reason why it costs more at Parassala is the cost of transportation.
By now, both the ruling Left and the Congress led UDF have held their customary protests, before the Raj Bhavan, while the BJP, which presently has no representation in the 140 member Kerala Assembly, remains a mute spectator to rising fuel prices.
Incidentally, its party state president K. Surendran, whenever the question of increasing fuel prices is put up and when the media reminds him and his top party brass including present union minister of State for external affairs V. Muraleedharan along with others, about the protests against the fuel price hike when they pulled bullock carts and pushed two wheelers, he loses his cool and says, “those are all old things, why do you want to rake it up again and again,”.
And when the question — if the Kerala government is ready to reduce the state’s share of taxes, similar to what then chief minister Oommen Chandy did (2015-16), new finance minister K.N. Balagopal says, in Congress ruled states like Rajasthan and in BJP ruled states, they levy more taxes than Kerala and hence, it might not be possible.
With the pandemic and the rising fuel prices, the worst affected are the auto rickshaw drivers who are now forced to charge Rs 40 as the minimum charge and with that, not many are willing to hire.
“Things are really tough for us as we ourselves know that we have nothing else to do but charge more, so we at least have a little amount to take back home. We have to wait for two hours to get a passenger and when we count the money at the end of the day, it’s just a pittance,” said an autorickshaw driver.