HYDERABAD: The record hike in petrol prices inflamed Hyderabadis’ tempers as they rushed to petrol pumps on Wednesday evening. Skirmishes broke out and chaos reigned as traffic came to a stand-still due to the winding queues of automobiles outside the petrol stations at rush hour after the news of the steepest price hike was announced. The price hike of `7.50 per litre announced by the government will make petrol dearer by around `81 per litre as compared to the existing tab of `73 per litre.
At a petrol pump near Somajiguda, a fight broke out between the traffic police and the irate public. “The queuing up of automobiles is holding up traffic till Punjagutta. How are we supposed to control such chaos?” fumed a traffic constable who was handed the unenviable job of ordering the petrol station to close shop.
An emotionally charged public, waiting for their turn, bore down on the personnel and a shouting match followed. Angry shouts of “ask the government to take responsibility for this” gave way to loud hoots when the inspector on duty stepped in to rescue the situation and allowed the station to continue operations.
“We travel around 50 km a day. This is election time and instead of appeasing the public, the prices are sky-rocketing. I think the common man should dedicate three-fourths of the salary to maintaining their mode of transport and be allowed to access the Re. 1 per kg rice scheme to fend for themselves,” said M Prathima, an MNC employee venting her ire.
There were others who had already decided to make changes to adjust for the price-rise. “I travel everyday from Ghatkesar to Begumpet for work. I am considering moving to a place closer to my office to save up. Today I could luckily get 8 litres. I will think of an alternative while it lasts,” said M Sridhar, a financial analyst.
‘One for the road’ was an acceptable norm as people filled up PET-bottles along with refilling their rides. “We are neighbors and work around the same area. Thankfully, that takes care of some expenses,” said G Sowjanya who hitches a ride with her friend V. Keerthi everyday. The only bright side to price-hike was the brisk business at petrol pumps which were enterprising enough to stock up on cold drinks and food to pacify the customers during the long wait.