Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday claimed that the Union government can reduce the petrol price by as much as ₹25 a litre.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Chidamabaram explained the burden of taxes on the retail price of petrol.
“It is possible to cut upto ₹25 per litre, but the government will not. They will cheat the people by cutting price by ₹1 or 2 per litre of petrol,” he said.
“Central government saves ₹15 on every litre of petrol due to fall in crude oil prices. Central government puts additional tax of ₹10 on every litre of petrol,” he said.
“Bonanza to central government is ₹25 on every litre of petrol. This money rightfully belongs to the average consumer,” he added.
Mr. Chidambaram’s tweets come on a day when the Ministry of Petroleum is likely to meet the oil companies to discuss the issue of regular increase in the prices of petrol and diesel since May 12.
At a press conference on Tuesday, BJP president Amit Shah said the government was concerned about the hike in fuel prices and would meet the oil companies.
The retail prices of petrol and diesel are at a record high and in cities like Mumbai.
The Opposition hit out at the government for the steep hike in recent days and alleged that oil companies were forced to keep the prices “artificially static” for the Karnataka elections and are now recovering from the consumers.
Oil firms deny charge
Oil companies, however, denied this charge. “There was no directive from the government as far as the retail price is concerned,” Indian Oil Corporation chairman Sanjeev Singh said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“The government has given us the freedom to revise prices daily. We are following that formula. We took a call [in those 19 days]… we believed that the trends that were happening were not supported by fundamentals,” he said.