Amid the national outcry over fuel price hikes, Union minister Ramdas Athawale has made a confession: "I am not suffering from rising fuel prices as I am a minister," he said, referring to the allowances he gets.
Petrol and diesel prices continued to rise on Sunday, scaling new highs as the depreciating rupee and the relentless rise in international oil rates have made imports costlier. Petrol price has increased by 28 paise a litre and diesel by 18 paise per litre in Delhi on September 16, according to the price notification issued by state fuel retailers. Hence, a litre of petrol now comes for Rs 81.91, while diesel is retailing at Rs 73.72 per litre.
On Sunday, the petrol and diesel prices were surged by 28 paise and 19 paise per litre in Mumbai, the financial capital of India respectively. The increase pushed the petrol price in Mumbai to a record high of Rs 89.29 per litre while Diesel rate touched its highest level of Rs 78.26 a litre.
Athawale on Saturday acknowledged that others are affected more. "I may suffer if I lose my ministerial post," he continued, drawing laughter at a press conference in Jaipur when asked if he was personally affected by the rising prices.
"It is understandable that people are suffering from rising fuel prices and it is the duty of the government to reduce them," the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment said.
Athawale was in the Rajsthan capital to review progress of the schemes run in the state by his ministry. He asked officials to disburse scholarship amounts to students from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other categories on time, deal with pending applications for inter-caste marriage and hold special camps to help the differently abled.
Athawala heads the Republican Party of India, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
(With PTI inputs)