New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: In a setback for lakhs of citizens across the country, the petrol and diesel prices were hiked by state-run oil marking companies (OMCs) for the third consecutive day on Thursday, taking the prices to a new high. In its notification, the state-owned fuel retailers said that petrol price was hiked by 24 to 25 paise per litre while diesel got dearer by 30 to 31 paise per litre.

With this hike, one litre of petrol will cost Rs 87.85 in Delhi while it will cost Rs 94.36 per litre in Mumbai. In Kolkata, the price of petrol is at Rs 89.16 per litre while the same is at Rs 90.18 per litre in Chennai.

Similarly, one litre of diesel in the national capital will cost Rs 78.03. In Mumbai and Kolkata, diesel is priced at Rs 84.94 and Rs 81.61 per litre respectively while the rates have climbed to Rs 83.18 per litre in Chennai.

Since January, petrol and diesel rates have been rising in India. Amid the rising fuel prices, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday told Rajya Sabha that the central government has no plans to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel.

"When the international price of crude oil is higher, we have to increase the prices and when the international price is lower, we have to decrease the prices here too. This is a market mechanism which is followed by oil marketing companies. We have given the freedom to them," he said while noting that fuel rates are governed by international prices as India is 85 per cent dependent on imports for meeting its need.

The Centre had earlier hiked the excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 13 per litre and Rs 16 a litre respectively to mop up gains arising from the fall in rates. However, the taxes were not cut even after the fuel rates in international markets bounced back.

Later, the government imposed an agriculture infra cess on fuel prices, following which petrol and diesel got costlier by Rs 2.5 per litre and Rs 4 per litre respectively. However, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that it will not impact final customers as the government has decided to reduce the Basic Customs Duty on fuel.

"Consequent to imposition of Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) on petrol and diesel, Basic excise duty (BED) and Special Additional Excise Duty (SAED) rates have been reduced on them so that overall consumer does not bear any additional burden," Sitharaman had said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma