A range of items including petrol, diesel, alcohol, cigarettes, cold drinks, diamond and gold jewellery will cost more from tonight in Maharashtra, as the Devendra Fadnavis government, in a desperate bid to bolster its finances, has decided to levy a surcharge to tackle drought in the state. This is the first time since 1973 that a state government has decided to take such a drastic step. Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the surcharge — he described it as essential but temporary and would be effective for the next five months — is meant to help farmers who have been hit by one of the worst droughts in recent times. There will be a surcharge of Rs 2 on petrol and diesel, while a 5% VAT will be imposed on alcohol, cigarettes and cold drinks. Gold and diamond jewellery will also see an increase in VAT of 20%.