As fuel prices continue to rise in the country, Kudukoli Pump, a fuel station at Perla in Enmakaje gram panchayat in Kerala’s Kasaragod district is giving away three litres of free fuel to all autorickshaw drivers. The pump announced about the offer for two days before giving both petrol and diesel for free from 6.30 am on Monday. There were 313 autorickshaws counted at the pump before it was closed at 9.30 pm, said Siddeek Madumoole, the manager of the fuel station. According to the New Indian Express, the pump is owned by Siddeek’s elder brother Abdulla Madumoole, who is a chartered accountant in Abu Dhabi. Abdulla said that the decision for the giveaway was taken to help autorickshaw drivers reeling under the lockdown and the daily increase in fuel prices.
“This was done as charity and not to promote business," said Siddeek, adding that autorickshaws came from Saradka in Karnataka, Perla, Badiadka, as well as Neerchal, 15km away, to avail the offer. Sanjeeva Maipady, who drove 15km from Neerchal told New Indian Express, “In my 37 years as an auto driver, no pump has ever given petrol and diesel for free. But I still got 2 litres for free." Sanjeeva says that apart from the increase in fuel prices, insurance premium to has increased from Rs 6,000 for a new autorickshaw to Rs 9,000 now.
Udyakumar S, an autorickshaw driver in Perla praised Abdulla and said, “I know him personally. He does a lot of charity like distributing food kits to the poor. But this is the first time ever I heard of someone giving petrol for free. If he were in Perala today, we auto drivers would have garlanded him and given him a hero’s reception."
After a one-day pause, the prices of petrol and diesel were hiked again on Wednesday, June 16, taking auto fuel prices across the country to a historic high. Prices also touched new high on Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. According to a price notification by state-owned fuel retailers, the latest round of increase resulted in petrol becoming costlier by 22 to 25 paise, while diesel went up by 12 to 14 paise per litre. Both auto fuel prices had touched record highs on Monday, June 14, when petrol rose 29 paise per litre and diesel climbed 30 paise in Delhi. With the new price hike, petrol hit an all-time high of Rs 102.82 a litre in Mumbai, with an increase of 24 paise from the previous day price of Rs 102.58 per litre. The country’s financial capital, on May 29, became the first metro where petrol was being sold at over the Rs 100-a-litre mark. While, diesel prices also shot up by 14 paise to retail at Rs 94.84 per litre in Mumbai, up from Rs 94.70 per litre, moneycontrol.com reported.