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No hike in petro prices: Govt

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 30, 2004 12:36 IST
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The Union government on Thursday ruled out any increase in the prices of petrol and diesel despite the surge in global crude prices.

"In today's circumstances, inflation is increasing. We all should endeavour to keep prices under check. In the petroleum sector, we will see that petrol and diesel prices are not increased and consumers are not burdened," Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar told reporters in New Delhi after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Aiyar said oil companies -- both upstream and downstream -- will bear the burden of surge in crude oil prices, which touched $50 per barrel earlier this week.

"Since I took over as petroleum minister, it has been our conscious endeavour that the spike in international crude oil prices is shared equitably by all the stakeholders -- consumers, government and oil companies, " he said.

Consumers, he said, have already been burdened and the government took a cut in its revenue by way of slashing excise and customs duty in August.

As per the new mechanism of setting rates within a price band, diesel prices should have gone up by Rs 0.89 per litre while petrol prices should have come down by Rs 0.05 per litre.

Without this restriction of revising prices within a band of ten per cent, diesel prices should have gone up by Rs 2.82 per litre and petrol by Rs 0.15 per litre.

Aiyar said government has formed a committee to look into the excise and duty structure and also the revenue it would get due to the increase in crude prices.

Government-owned oil firms had last increased the prices on July 31 by Rs 1.10 a litre for petrol and Rs 1.42 per litre for diesel. The prices have remained unchanged for nearly two months now despite the rise in global crude and product prices.

Government is understood to be of the view that with the already rising inflation, any hike in prices at this juncture could fuel it further.

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