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Fuel past Rs 100, expenses shoot up in Calcutta

The Telegraph speaks to two such people affected by spiralling fuel prices, for the second time since March this year
A car at a fuel station near the Theatre Road crossing on Tuesday.

Debraj Mitra   |   Calcutta   |   Published 07.07.21, 01:23 AM

The spiralling fuel prices have scalded most people whose livelihoods are inseparable from their vehicles.

The petrol price will cross the hundred rupee mark in Calcutta on Wednesday, when motorists will pay Rs 100.23 a litre for the fuel. Oil marketing companies increased price by Rs 0.40 a litre overnight.


The Telegraph spoke to two such people affected by spiralling fuel prices, for the second time since March this year.

Sandip Kayal, 43
Owner of a car rental business with three cars

  • Monthly diesel expense on a Toyota Innova for a 3,000km contract in March 2021: Rs 21,000
  • Monthly diesel expense on the same car in July 2021 for a similar contract: Rs 25,000

Kayal gets Rs 40,000 from the client for the 3,000km contract, like he used to in March. But the price of diesel has risen from Rs 84 a litre in March to Rs 92 a litre now.

Kayal has to pay Rs 14,000 to the driver of the vehicle, similar to what it was four months ago. But in March, he had a margin of Rs 5,000 on the contract. Now, he barely has Rs 1,000 after paying Rs 25,000 for diesel and Rs 14,000 to the driver.

“Paying for the EMI, insurance and maintenance from my own pocket makes no sense. So, I have stopped two similar contracts.

Only one 3,000km contract is still active because the client does not travel more than 2,500km,” Kayal told The Telegraph.

Usually, he rents out a car for 10 hours, with a cap of 100km, for Rs 1,500. The cost of diesel for 100km is around Rs 920. The driver’s commission is Rs 500. That means he is

left with Rs 70. In March, a similar deal left him with around Rs 250. The rate was the same but the price of diesel was Rs 84 and the driver’s cut was Rs 400.

“I have my back to the wall,” said Kayal. To cut costs, he has discontinued the services of a domestic help. He has also stopped English tuitions for his son, a NEET aspirant.

Kapil Yadav
Taxi driver

  • Daily diesel expense in March 2021: Rs 840
  • Daily diesel expense in July 2021: Rs 920

In Calcutta, the base fare for a metered taxi is Rs 25 for 2km, and thereafter Rs 12 a kilometre. If Yadav travels 100km a day, he goes without any passenger for at least 20km.

In the metered fare, Yadav earns around Rs 1,000 for 80km and needs about 10 litres of diesel to run 100km. That means Rs 920 for 100km at the current rate of Rs 92 a litre.

“Insurance, permits and taxes eat up my savings. Ideally, I should be able to pay them from my earnings. If the fare does not go up, I don’t know what lies ahead,” said Yadav.

He has been earning some extra bucks ferrying people to Howrah and Esplanade over the past few days, in the absence of too many public transport options.

He takes four people and charges Rs 75 from each for a ride from Behala to Esplanade. Yadav had to sell his wife’s jewellery for their son, who has started a training course to be a technician of electrical appliances.

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