Thiruvananthapuram: The skyrocketing fuel prices are burning a hole in the pockets even as the central and state governments are passing the buck on each other. Petrol price rose to Rs 73.97 per liter in Kochi, an increase of more than Re 1 since January 1. Diesel has become costlier by Rs 2.22 at Rs 66.12.
In Thiruvananthapuram, petrol costs Rs 75 and diesel Rs 67.
The Kerala government has urged the central government to slash the excise duties on petroleum products to rein in the prices but the center wants the state government to reduce sales tax. Kerala, however, is in no position to forego the sales tax on petroleum products, which is the third largest revenue generator after the GST and alcohol sales.
The transport associations have started asking for an upward fare revision after the fuel prices went up. Even the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will have to shoulder an extra burden due to the increasing diesel price.
The government-run transporters spends Rs 2.75 crore a day on average on fuel. This translates to Rs 80 crore per month. The corporation wants the government to let it increase its fare stage. The Kerala State Petroleum Traders' Association urged the central and state governments to work together to find a solution to the increase.
The Kerala finance department, however, can boost its finance thanks to the fuel price rise. The state treasury received Rs 622 crore in December as fuel tax. The income is expected to cross Rs 660 this month.