Truckers in Tamil Nadu have hiked their tariff up to 25 per cent as diesel price moved closer to Rs 80 per litre. The state has around four and a half lakh trucks.
"For every 10 lorries only three are running, others have stopped. In Kerala the government has reduced VAT, in Karnataka they've reduced but in Tamil Nadu, the goverment has said no. We have to save our business," S Yuvaraj, spokesperson, All India Motor Congress told NDTV.
The impact of the hike in truck rents is beginning to be felt in domestic vegetable market. Some of the produce have become costlier by around 15 per cent. At a vegetable market in Chennai's Mylapore, self-employed Geetha Senthilkumar says, her monthly budget is going haywire with fuel price hike already hitting hard. "Earlier I used to buy my weekly vegetables for around Rs 60. Now a days it costs around Rs 150, " said Ms Senthilkumar.
However, trucks bringing vegetable from Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh would have some respite as in these states diesel is cheaper by around Rs 3 after the intervention by the state governments.
The diesel price hike has hit the middle class hard. Thirumal, who runs a diesel cab says, he suffers drop in his income as operators are yet to hike tariff after the fuel price hike. "During Congress' time if I filled fuel work Rs 1000, I could manage for a week. Now it lasts only for three days. I have to borrow money to run again," said Thirumal.
Fishermen in Rameswaram are already not venturing into the sea demanding tax free diesel. They claim that with the present cost of diesel, fishing is increasingly becoming impossible.
Some however, believe this is a temporary phase. Sriram a realtor who moves in his SUV is fine with fuel price hike. "If you want luxury you pay for it. You can't expect the government to give you free. The state government however, has to reduce taxes for it's people if it is concerned. The state gets Rs 30 to Rs 40 for every litre. They can't push everything to the centre; this is temporary," he said.
The Tamil Nadu government has ruled out any tax cut on fuel, citing financial crunch. So every hike in fuel price is like the state government winning a lottery. While it's a double whammy now for the common people in the state, it could reflect in the Lok Sabha polls due next year, say political analysts.