Our Bureau

Kolkata, May 13

THE Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Panchayati Raj, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, has said there are no plans to hike the prices of petroleum products in the immediate future. A decision in this regard would be taken only after the issue is discussed and a decision taken by the Union Cabinet.

Speaking to reporters at Writers' Buildings, the state administrative headquarters, here on Friday, Mr Aiyar said the issue of a hike in the prices of petroleum products would also be discussed with partners in the ruling United Progressive Alliance. Mr Aiyar lauded the West Bengal Government for its success in the empowerment of panchayats in the State.

After a meeting with the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the Union Minister assured all assistance from the Centre to strengthen Panchayati Raj institutions in the State.

He said West Bengal was a role model for other States as far as the effective implementation of the Panchayati Raj system was concerned.

He said a fresh national impetus had been given to the devolution of powers and responsibilities through the seven Round Tables of State Ministers of Panchayati Raj, which arrived by consensus, at 150 recommendations pertaining to 18 dimensions of Panchayati Raj.

West Bengal, he said, had initiated the implementation of the recommendations of the Round Tables that apply to it.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 14, 2005)
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