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Mangalam, a flower seller says she has been hit hard by fuel price rise.Chennai: For Babu who works in sales, his monthly fuel expense has increased by Rs. 2,000 over the last six months as the price of petrol in Chennai has crossed 102 rupees a litre, up by ten rupees in just seven months. However, his salary has not kept pace.As he filled up the fuel tank of his motorcycle, he told NDTV, “Half of what I earn is spent on petrol. I have to manage all my household expenses with the rest”. Babu works as a salesperson. The impact of steep fuel prices seems to have affected everyday spending habits as well. Close to the Mylapore temple, Jai Ganesh who sells dolls during Navaratri has suffered losses for the second consecutive year. “Prices have gone up, but demand is declining,” he says. “Everyone has been hit financially and sales have gone down drastically. Those who used to buy ten dolls earlier buy only two now,” Mr Ganesh explained.Kalaivani’s family is hoping to buy Navaratri dolls at a cheaper price on the last day of the festival. They say they walk to their destinations as much as possible to save on petrol. Two earning members of her family have faced up to fifty per cent salary cuts. “We used to get 1.5 litres of petrol for Rs. 100 but now the same amount fetches us only a litre. We are now forced to walk for everyday activities like grocery shopping.Chitra, another family member whose husband suffered a pay cut, added, “I am at a loss of words, don’t know what to say. Life goes on and we just pray to God and feel relieved looking at those who struggle more than us.”Further down the road from Mr Ganesh, Mangalam, a flower seller says she has been hit hard. She has flowers worth Rs. 2,000 but hasn’t sold much even on Vijayadashami. With a fuel price hike triggering a price rise, she says flowers aren’t a priority for many people right now. She has taken a 30,000 rupee loan so that her daughter could go to college, the first in her family to do so. A desperate Mangalam said, “There has been no business since the Ayudha Pooja in the last three days. I set up shop in the morning and there has been no business all day”.Despite a 3 rupee waiver in petrol price by the DMK government, many say the cascading effect of rising fuel prices amid the pandemic has caused other challenges and has hit the poor and lower-middle classes very hard, dampening their festive spirit and hopes of recovery.Petrol prices have crossed Rs. 100 in many cities across the country. This has reportedly been caused by a rise in crude oil prices. Experts say it’s due to a combination of factors. The demand for oil had gone up worldwide but at the same time, production had been hit in some countries. 

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