Diesel breaches Rs 70 a litre for first time; Pradhan blames US policies

Fuel prices continued to rise on Saturday, with petrol and diesel prices touching a new record high in several metropolitan cities, including Delhi and Mumbai.

The price of petrol has been increased to Rs 78.68 per litre in Delhi, against Rs 78.52 on Friday, while diesel is being retailed at Rs 70.42 per litre. In Mumbai, petrol is being sold at Rs 86.09 per litre (increased by Rs 0.16 per litre), while diesel spurted to a new high of Rs 74.76 per litre (increased by Rs 0.22 per litre).

On Friday, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan blamed the "isolated" policies of the US for the "abnormally" rising fuel prices in the international markets.

He said the Centre is concerned about the spiralling prices of petrol and diesel and is taking all measures to check them.

"Due to the isolated policies of America, the value of currencies across the world has fallen in comparison to the US dollar. India's currency has also been affected and the price of fuel has increased abnormally," he told reporters.

"Both the factors - rise in fuel prices and devaluation of rupee - (which) are affecting the economy of India are external reasons," Pradhan added.

Earlier on Friday, the Indian rupee slumped to a record low of 71 against the US dollar by falling 26 paise on persistent demand for the US currency amid rising crude prices.

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