Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, the party floated by politician Raj Thackeray, has started selling petrol at select pumps in Mumbai at a discount of Rs 9.30 per liter as part of a protest against the high price of fuel.
The actual price of petrol in Mumbai is Rs 84.26, while the MNS is selling petrol at Rs 75 per liter.
The discounted petrol is available in select pumps only, including one in Sewri. The ‘sale’ will continue till 12 PM (noon) today, the birthday of Raj Thackeray.
According to eyewitnesses, the pumps are seeing huge rush due to the ‘offer’, especially from two-wheelers.
It is not clear how many pumps are hosting the protest. It is also not clear how or whether the pumps are selling petrol at lower than official price, as they are bound by rules and regulations contained in their license agreements with petroleum companies like Indian Oil. The rules prohibit dealers from selling petrol and diesel at anything other than the official price given to them by the company.
Petrol and diesel prices in India have risen to record levels due to sharp increases in taxes by the central and state governments over the last three years.
While the increase in taxes were masked by falling crude prices in 2015 and 2016, a sharp increase in crude oil prices in the last three months have again exposed consumers to the harsh impact of the higher taxes on petrol and diesel.
Opposition parties, including MNS, Shiv Sena and Indian National Congress, have been calling for a reduction in taxes, while the government argues that doing so will impact the roll-out of government programs and schemes.