“For years I had been thinking of riding a cycle to my office daily but would inevitably use my bike instead. With the salary cut owing to the pandemic and rise of petrol prices, I had to take up cycling,” he said. Nandagopal’s bike gave a mileage of 45km/litre and he used to fill seven litres once in 10 days. “When I started working in 2012, I would need seven litres for about Rs 420-430. Now, I am ending up spending over Rs 200 and more almost on a daily basis and can no longer afford it,” he added.
As on Tuesday, in Chennai, a litre of petrol was being sold at Rs 92.90 and diesel for Rs 86.31. The price of autogas was Rs 44.55 per litre. On May 5 last year, soon after full lockdown was lifted, petrol was priced at Rs 72.26 per litre while diesel at Rs 65.69 per litre and Autogas was sold at Rs 35.44 a litre. Auto-driver N Abdullah from Anna Nagar said that the State government should immediately revise the auto-rickshaw fares which were fixed in 2012. “The price of a litre of petrol has gone up by over Rs 18 when compared to 2012 but the fares remain the same. How can we sustain our livelihood?”
The hike has hit vegetable vendors hard too. GD Rajasekaran, president, Koyambedu Periya Market Association, said that the market is already on a low since lockdown. “The hike is an additional burden for us as the vehicles bringing the products are going to charge at least 10-20% more from now. But, we cannot increase the price of the products as business is bad,” he said.P Sukumaran, treasurer, Koyambedu Wholesale Market Merchants’ Association, said the fuel hike will eventually result in rise in price of perishables. “The ecosystem is going to get affected. Though we are resisting it now, it will happen,” he said.