Maha Cong protests fuel price rise, demands roll back of hike

(Eds: Adds details) Mumbai, Jun 29 (PTI) The Maharashtra Congress staged protests across the state on Monday against the increase in fuel prices, and demanded roll back of the hike.

A senior party leader said people were already hit hard by the coronavirus-induced lockdown, hence at such a time the Centre should reduce the fuel prices.

Several Congress ministers, including Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan and Nitin Raut, staged a protest at the party office in Mumbai.

'The petrol and diesel prices have been increased by the Centre in last some days. The prices should be slashed as people are already affected by the lockdown, said Thorat, who is the Maharashtra Congress president and the state revenue minister.

He later led a protest in Pune where party workers, holding placards with messages demanding roll back of the hike, gathered at Alka Chowk to stage a demonstration.

Thorat said the country is facing the COVID-19 pandemic and people are suffering from financial hardships.

'The Centre should help people, it should implement the NYAY scheme proposed by Rahul Gandhi, but exactly the opposite is going on. The per-barrel price of crude oil came down to USD 16 in April, but still fuel prices are going up,' he said.

Thorat alleged that the fuel price hike was 'dacoity by the Centre aimed at common man's pocket'.

The Congress also gave a memorandum to Pune collector, seeking roll back of the hike and reduction of fuel prices in accordance with the reduction of crude oil rates at the international level.

Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan led a protest in Sangli along with state minister Vishwajit Kadam.

Besides, state minister Satej Patil staged a protest against the fuel price hike in Kolhapur.

Diesel price scaled a new high on Monday after prices were hiked for the 22nd time in just over three weeks, taking the cumulative increase to Rs 11.14 per litre.

Petrol price was increased by 5 paise per litre and diesel 13 paise a litre across the country, according to a price notification of state oil marketing companies.

While the diesel rates have been hiked for the 22nd time since June 7, petrol price has been raised on 21 occasions. PTI ND SPK GK GK