Govt hints at review of petrol price hike

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

jaipal   -  Business Line

The Petroleum Minister, Mr Jaipal Reddy (file photo)

Under mounting political pressure, the Government today hinted that a review of the petrol price hike may happen in the next few days.

A similar view was expressed by the public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Thursday. The companies had said that they will review the price at the end of the fortnight (June 1), passing on the benefits of the softening international crude oil and product prices to consumers.

While defending the steep price hike of May 23 by the OMCs, the Petroleum Minister, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy, admitted that the decision to hike the price was harsh and unpleasant.

He said, “We in the Ministry cannot remain indifferent…But we are at this point not able to take a definitive view because there is lot of volatility in the value of rupee and price of crude oil. So we have decided to watch for just few days.”

The Government is not only facing flak from the Opposition but from allies as well, with the Trinamool Congress, DMK and outside supporter Samajwadi Party all announcing agitation plans.

Sceptics, however, were quick to point out that the Government may not reduce prices before May 31, since that would mean giving credit to the Opposition, which has called for a Bharat Bandh.

Mr Reddy said that the Centre would also talk to the States for reducing taxes on petroleum products.

“The Centre and States should together arrive at some formula. This would be a long-term solution. I met the Finance Minister (Mr Pranab Mukherjee) and we decided to consult States before taking a decision,” Mr Reddy said.

On raising the prices of diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene, Mr Reddy said, “The logic in favour of increasing price of diesel, LPG and kerosene is un-sellable (to the political mandate). But, politics and logic do not go together.”

The Petroleum Ministry is pushing for a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers to review the regulated product price. “I do not know when the meeting would be convened,” he said.

Published on May 25, 2012

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