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No hike in petro prices

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Oct. 15

DESPITE the sharp surge in international crude prices, the Government on Friday decided against increasing petrol and diesel prices and asked the public sector oil companies to bear the burden for another fortnight.

"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided that for now, the prices of all petroleum products will be held at the same level. There will be no increase for this fortnight," the Petroleum Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, told reporters after the CCEA meeting.

The CCEA also decided against any changes in duties on crude oil and petroleum products. "Duties are normally decided in the Budget for the full financial year. It is not possible during the year to review them. Any change is possible only in case of exigencies," Mr Aiyar said.

He said that a Finance Ministry committee, headed by the Chief Economic Advisor, Mr Ashok Lahiri, is looking at duty recast in the entire oil sector and changes in the duty structure could only be considered after the committee submits its report.

"Our oil companies are extremely capable of bearing the present burden," he said, adding that a decision on revising prices was not taken due to the absence of senior ministers such of Mr Sharad Pawar, of the Nationalist Congress Party, and Mr Lalu Prasad, of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

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