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Govt not to roll back fuel price hike
Published on 2 Jul. 2009 11:58 PM IST
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Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora Thursday refused to roll back the increase in fuel prices but said that a revision will be considered when the international crude oil prices come down. The government Wednesday allowed state-run oil firms to increase prices of transport fuels, resulting in petrol becoming dearer by Rs.4 per litre and diesel by Rs.2 per litre. After opposition leaders disrupted the start of budget session of parliament over the hike, Deora said that the state oil companies had been reeling from under recoveries, or losses, to the tune of Rs.70,200 crore since the global crude prices increased by 75 percent from December 2008. He said that the government had not increased the fuel prices by the desired level - Rs.6.94 per litre for petrol and Rs.4.11 per litre for diesel. Deora added that there was no rise in cooking gas and kerosene prices, for which the state oil companies will continue to bear a subsidy burden of Rs.30,000 crore. “But we will keep the view of the honourable members on the issue and take suitable action in case there is a decline in the international crude price,” he said. Political parties slam A number of political parties, including some of those supporting the UPA government, on Thursday came down heavily on the central government for its decision to raise the prices of petrol and diesel. Criticising the government move to hike oil prices before the budget, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh said the decision is a mockery of Congress’ slogan of being with the common man. “The government’s move to hike the prices of petrol and diesel goes against the common man. This makes a mockery of Congress party’s slogan of ‘Congress Ka Hath, Aam Admi ke Saath’,” Singh told reporters outside Parliament here. He said there is a huge difference between what Congress says and does. The government on Wednesday hiked petrol and diesel prices by Rs 4 and Rs 2 per litre respectively. “We are in a very ridiculous situation. We are supporting the government but at the same time we not in the government. We have no information of what is happening and we come to know about the things through newspapers only,” Singh said. RJD chief Lalu Prasad said, “It is an injustice to the poor people of the country. Prices of diesel should rather have been decreased.” BJP vice president Venkaiah Naidu termed the step as “betrayal to the common man” and a “mockery of democracy”. “It’s a mockery of’s an insult of Parliament. There is no rationale in increasing the price just before the budget session without having any discussion on it. They should have debated the matter in Parliament and then taken a decision,” Naidu said. Attacking Congress over the move, the BJP leader said “They were talking about common people before election. They have now betrayed them. It’s a betrayal.” Etah MP and former BJP leader Kalyan Singh said the poor in the country will be at the receiving end with this decision. “This is an anti-poor step by the government. The government has gone back on its promise of bringing down price rise within 100 days. The rise in petrol prices will lead to sharp rise in the prices of commodity. CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said the government’s move to hike oil prices a day before the budget session shows how seriously the government views Parliament. “What was the haste for it? Who is benefiting out of it...It’s very wrong. This should be immediately rolled back.” Karat said. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati demanded an immediate rollback of the hike and said the state would not impose any additional tax on fuel to relieve the common man of extra burden.She alleged that the UPA Government “cheated” the people by slashing prices before polls and hiking it now. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described the price hike as the “first honest gift” of a government that came to power on the promise of price control and cheaper living for “aam aadmi”. He said costlier fuel would “paralyse the engines of growth and break the back of beleaguered peasantry”. Ruling SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal demanded immediate withdrawal of the hike.

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